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Congress Tackles Loud Commercials

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Health care shmealth care — government is finally working to solve a problem we can all get behind: loud commercials. The House Communications Subcommittee has approved a bill that would require broadcasters and operators (including satellite and cable) to normalize the volume of TV advertisements.

Broadcasting & Cable writes that the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) is backed by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.):

Eshoo said the bill premise was simple: “To make the volume of commercials and programming uniform so that spikes in volume do not affect the consumer’s ability to control sound.” Eshoo said that ad volume spikes had “endangered hearing for decades.” She also said legislative spouses had been urging their husbands or wives to sign on as co-sponsors. “I think they are all tired of getting blasted out of their easy chairs or off their exercise equipment due to these ridiculously loud commercials.”

After the fast-forward button (to zap through the commercials entirely), “mute” is the second most used button on the Albrecht remote. I’m not sure why advertisers think that YELLING at us will make us like their product, but hopefully this bill will pass and the TV will quiet down.

It looks like the bill only addresses oldteevee, which is too bad because we’ve noticed that newteevee sites definitely fiddle with the ad volume as well.

26 Responses to “Congress Tackles Loud Commercials”

  1. PaxVobiscum

    I’m confused as to why everyone is arguing so intensely about this issue. A lot of people are excited, and that’s fine, but in the end don’t you think congress should be focusing on unemployment and the economy. Those two issues actually directly affect and are matters of life and death for people. Tell me who this is a matter of life and death for.

  2. Thank god!

    Most popular channels keep their commercial volume increase in a good range, but other channels actually keep their regular programming volume low so that the user increases the volume on their end and thus when commercials hit, you feel the pain in your ear drums!!

  3. RDK, yeah, right. I’m opposed to change. How about you click on my name. What I am opposed to is stupid change that has government micro-manage every aspect of our lives about stuff that government has no business trying to control. You might believe Big Brother is wise and we should do whatever it says, but I don’t.

  4. And we wonder why our country is dying...

    Overly loud commercials drive me nuts but, I deal with it and don’t expect someone else too.

    Random Thoughts On The Difference Between “Us” And “Them”

    If a WE don’t like guns, WE don’t buy one. If a THEY don’t like guns, then no one should have one.

    If a WE ar a vegetarian, WE don’t eat meat. If a THEY are, THEY want to ban all meat products for everyone.

    If a WE see a foreign threat, WE think about how to defeat the enemy. THEY wonder how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

    If a WE are homosexual, WE quietly enjoy our life. If a THEY are homosexual, THEY loudly demand legislated respect.

    If a black man or Hispanic is conservative, they see themselves as independently successful. Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection. (I’m sure I’ve just been labled a racist)

    If a WE are down-and-out, WE think about how to better our situation. THEY wonder who is going to take care of them.

    If a WE don’t like a talk show host, WE switch channels. THEY demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

    If WE are a non-believer, WE doesn’t go to church. THEY want any mention of God or religion silenced.

    If WE decide WE need health care, WE go about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. THEY demand that their neighbors pay for thiers.

  5. Robert Rawlings

    So let me see if I understand this. Because some people can not change the volume on the television set we should just happily allow the government to get a foot in the door of controlling what we see/hear/say over public broadcasts? Scott has a good point, we do not require businesses to only sell food that no one has an issue with, we do not require radio to only play music that does not bother anyone. Why in the world would we allow the government to dictate how loud something can or can not be? If you really have an issue with the volume of commercials go buy a television set that has a sound regulator.

  6. I support you Jensen. Its not the governments job to do this sort of thing. Cable and its channels are private companies. Why does the gov have the right to say how they should run their company.

  7. スカトジェンソンはばかですね。


  8. Chris drew

    Hey Scott – I’ll be sure to let my dad who is unable to move his arms and is confined to a wheelchair that you don’t think this issue matters. You may be lucky enough to use your mute button but there are those less fortunate who cant do that and It’s our government’s job to speak for them.

    • If you think your retort makes me feel bad, forget it. I think you’re a fool and one of the reasons we have Big Intrusive Government. I cannot eat nuts, tomato products, dairy products, and a long list of foods. Should government force restaurants to specially prepare all their foods so I can safely go to them to eat? Of course not. I make the accommodation, not society. Grow up!

  9. Chris drew

    Hey Mike – I’ll be sure to let my dad who is unable to move his arms and is confined to a wheelchair that you don’t think this issue matters. You may be lucky enough to use your mute button but there are those less fortunate who cant do that and It’s our government’s job to speak for them.

    • The stupidity of this is amazing. Because a micro-fraction of the population cannot do something for themselves, the overwhelming majority must make things easy for them. Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. This is how we get government sticking its nose, fingers, and elbows into every aspect of our lives. This is as bad as doing anything “for the children”.

  10. IIRC this used to be the law at TV stations. The volume of the commercials couldn’t be more than the show. It was an FCC rule and was eliminated during the Reagan administration I think. I don’t think it applied to cable, only broadcast. Anyway, I guess congress is fixing the barn after all the horses have come home. Who the heck watches commercials now anyway. I just zap through them with the DVR remote.

  11. NearDeaf

    Oh god – finally something is being done about this loud commercial nightmare. If it requires an act of congress, so be it. Nothing worse that those guys who scream at the top of their lungs about citrus cleaners being amped up to ear killing decibels. This has been a problem for as long as I can remember. Anyone who does not care about this probably lost their hearing to overly loud commercials years ago.

  12. What?! You got to be kidding me. Congress is wasting time on this?! What’s next? Nothing can flash on the screen? No women in bikinis?

    Government does NOT have to stick its nose into everything. Stupidity. Simple arrogant stupidity.

    • Scott you probably work for advertising ad, to be acting like that, the government should make the volume go down. Lots of day cares facility’s, have the TV on,and and when a loud commercial comes on, it could hurt a child’s ear. i think your comment was as you would say, Stupidity. Simple arrogant stupidity.

      • Will,

        First, you do a “personal attack” (Ad Hominem Abuse … kill the messenger), which only telegraphs the weakness of your position. Second, then you do an “appeal to emotion” with your “for the children” statement. The world does NOT need or should be child-proof. And the increase of volume wouldn’t EVER hurt a child’s ears. If their TV is so loud that it could, it is already too loud to begin with.

      • Yes, for government knows best for you and me. We need government to determine everything. To make everything right. There is nothing that government shouldn’t regulate and make child-safe. This way we don’t ever have to grow up and be adults.