Mountain View Voice

News - December 17, 2010

Eshoo gets feds to cork loud TV ads

by Daniel DeBolt

It seems that Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. can agree on at least one thing these days: advertisers need to do something about their annoyingly loud TV commercials.

A bill by local congresswoman Anna Eshoo that will keep people from being "blasted at" by TV commercials was passed by Congress on Dec. 2. The bill is called the CALM Act (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation).

"While this is far from the biggest issue we face, it will mean one less daily annoyance in our lives," said ad bill sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, in a press release.

"Consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at," Eshoo said. "It's a simple fix to a huge nuisance."

The bill awaits a signature from President Barack Obama before it will become law. Within a year, advertisers would be required to adopt technology that will keep the volume of commercials no higher than the TV programs they accompany.

"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."

Eshoo's office said in the press release that the Federal Communications Commission had been receiving complaints about loud TV commercials since the 1960s and the FCC has ranked it a top complaint over the last few years.

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