Congresswoman Anna G. EschooWashington, DC (December 6, 2010)--It turns out that Congress can agree on something, signing the CALM Act into law on December 2.
The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, introduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) to quiet excessively loud television commercials, was passed by a voice vote. The bill will prevent television advertisements from playing at a volume noticeably higher than the programs during which they air. The bill will now be sent to president Obama for his signature.
"Consumers have been asking for a solution to this problem for decades, and today they finally have it," Rep. Eshoo said. "The CALM Act gives consumers peace of mind, because it puts them in control of the sound in their homes."
According to a statement from the Congresswoman's office, loud television commercials have been listed as a top consumer complaint in 21 of the FCC's last 25 quarterly reports. The statement also notes that current FCC policy recommends that consumers "mute" commercials when they find them excessively strident.
Under the CALM Act, the FCC must require advertisers to adopt industry technology that modulates sound levels and prevents overly loud commercials within one year. Much of the bill is based on recommended practices already approved by the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee).
"TV programs use a variety of sound levels to build dramatic effect. But advertisements have been neither subtle nor nuanced," Rep. 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."
Congresswoman Anna G. Eschoo