No more loud commercials – congress passes CALMA
It’s good to see that this hideous lame duck congress is really serious about the economy and other important issues of the day. You mean, like working on avoiding the largest tax hike in history by extending (or making permanent) the Bush tax cuts? Sadly, no (more here). But they are deeply concerned about your hearing. I mean, isn’t everybody sick and tired of those blaring commercials that make you dive for the remote during your favorite program? Well, congress has a cure for that (story here from the Hill).
The House by voice vote Thursday passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) that would lower the volume of television commercials, sending it to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the volume of advertisements to ensure they aren’t noticeably louder than the programs they interrupt, a problem that has annoyed consumers for decades. The bill passed the Senate in September and has been endorsed by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.
“TV programs use a variety of sound levels to build dramatic effect. But advertisements have been neither subtle nor nuanced,” Eshoo said. “My bill reduces commercial volume, allowing them to only be as loud as the decibel level of regular programming. Consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at. It’s a simple fix to a huge nuisance.”
The bill requires the FCC to develop regulations within one year that would comply with international standards for digital television while limiting the volume of TV ads. Broadcast stations, cable distributors and other video content providers who demonstrate the new rules would pose a hardship will be able to apply for a waiver to avoid the regulations.
“Most Americans experience the frustration of abrasively loud television commercials, with advertisers grabbing for our attention through this intrusive practice,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “While this is far from the biggest issue we face, it will mean one less daily annoyance in our lives.”
Up next for these Nanny Staters: too hot coffee, hot dog buns (that come in packages of 8 while hot dogs are 10 to a package), and cold french fries. I can’t wait for somebody to do something about those daily annoyances.