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FINALLY! The Days Of Blasting TV Commercials Over!

CALM act will soon quiet down TV commercials (Getty Images)

You are sitting in your recliner watching your favorite television show or sports game, then they cut to a commercial break and the volume of the commercial is so loud, the dog runs out of the room.  I’m happy to say those days are soon coming to an end!

The House on Thursday gave final congressional approval to a bill that would prevent advertisers from abruptly raising the volume to catch the attention of viewers wandering off when regular programming is interrupted.

I first saw the story on a cable news channel, then followed up the story on several websites including Comm Law.

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said it was her own “earsplitting experiences” that got her involved, recalling how the ads “blew us out of the house” when she watched television, already set at a high volume, with her parents.

“TV programs use a variety of sound levels to build dramatic effect. But advertisements have been neither subtle nor nuanced,” Eshoo said after the House passed the bill on a voice vote. When the law goes into effect, she said, “consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at.”

Also,

“It’s not like the consumer has any choices,” said Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America. “It’s a case where it’s very difficult for consumers to express their sovereignty.”

People have been complaining to the FCC for over four decades about the ridiculously loud commercials and the practices advertisers use to grab your attention by  increasing the volume of commercials by sometimes 100%.  But the FCC currently does not regulate program or commercial volume.  Instead, it reminds viewers that some newer TVs come equipped with audio limiters designed to stabilize volume differences or advises people that one solution is still to make aggressive use of the mute button on the remote.  I am one of those who sit and watch a Red Wings game with remote in hand, thumb on the mute button.  It gets very annoying trying to do so while eating buffalo wings.   It gets VERY messy!

Looking up this topic on The Wall Street Journal‘s site,

Under the CALM Act, the FCC must require advertisers to adopt industry technology which modulates sound levels and prevents overly loud commercials within one year.

Sure, Congress still must debate taxes and funding the federal government before its final session of the year ends this month.  But the bill was so popular it passed both chambers of Congress within weeks.  WOW!  Both sides, working together to tackle a problem.

“While this is far from the biggest issue we face, it will mean one less daily annoyance in our lives,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

I personally don’t see this technology being implemented by television stations or cable / satellite providers too difficult.  We’ve been using this technology for a VERY long time in the radio industry.  Volume limiting & controlling modulation has been a MUST for radio broadcasters as required by the FCC.  It’s about time that TV must play by the same rules and I can sit and watch a hockey game without making a mess out of the furniture or killing my remote with hot sauce!  YEAH!!!!

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