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A Rogers Communications Inc. office tower is seen in downtown Montreal, March 6, 2009. (Shaun Best/REUTERS)
A Rogers Communications Inc. office tower is seen in downtown Montreal, March 6, 2009. (Shaun Best/REUTERS)

CRTC to Rogers: Turn down the ad volume Add to ...

Canada’s broadcast regulator is asking Rogers Communications to explain – quietly – why it keeps blasting high-volume commercials on its stations despite new rules that insist levels remain consistent throughout a broadcast.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission sent a letter to the cable and broadcasting giant, saying it first received complaints about loud commercials after a football game was aired on CityTV Sept. 9.

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The commission said Wednesday that Rogers agreed to solve the problem after it was told about the issues with the football game, which it blamed on “human and technology issues.” But the commission’s letter to Rogers noted that it continues to receive complaints about loud commercials on Rogers-owned television stations.

“Despite these assurances regarding the above complaints, the CRTC is now in receipt of new complaints about Rogers Media regarding similar loudness issues,” the commission wrote. “As such, it will be necessary for Rogers Media to confirm that it is in compliance with its regulatory obligations.”

To do that, the commission is asking Rogers to submit its new procedures, describe what it’s doing to ensure staff get things right and provide a list of any technological updates it will do to ensure its equipment keeps volumes even throughout a broadcast.

The commission introduced rules in September that forbid loud commercials, after a public-consultation process led to an astounding 7,000 submissions from viewers frustrated by ridiculously loud commercials filling their homes every time their favourite shows took a break.

“This has been a perennial issue. People have been complaining to us… we said it’s time to do something,” former CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said when the changes were announced. “There’s no reason why the industry can’t do it. The costs are minimal. The technology is there.”

When the rules were being discussed, Rogers wrote in a submission that it “does not believe regulatory changes are required in order to ensure the effective control of the loudness of commercial messages relative to adjacent programming.”

Rogers had no comment.

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