The CALM act quiets TV commercials
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Commercials are too loud! It's one of Americans' top complaints when watching television.
Now, the government is turning down the volume. On Dec. 2, Congress passed the CALM Act, which calls for regulations that will lower the volume on television commercials that sound louder than the shows they interrupt.
The CALM Act is short for the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., sponsored the bill.
"Consumers have been asking for a solution to this problem for decades, and today they finally have it," Eshoo said.
The Federal Communications Commission, an independent government agency that regulates radio and television broadcasting, has received complaints from viewers about commercial volume since the 1960s. In 21 of the FCC's last 25 quarterly reports, loud commercials were listed as a top consumer complaint.
Advertisers raise the volume on commercials to try to grab consumer attention. Instead, viewers reach for the mute button.
The act calls for the FCC to come up with regulations for commercials so that they cannot be louder than the average sound level of the accompanying television shows. Advertisers will have one year to meet the new regulations.
The Senate passed the CALM Act on Sept. 29, 2010. On Dec. 2, the House gave final approval to the bill. After a bill passes through Congress, the president must sign the bill to make it a law. President Obama is expected to sign the CALM Act.
First Published December 13, 2010 12:00 am