Via the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it’ll soon become law.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.
The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.
Managing the transition between programs and ads without spoiling the artistic intent of the producers poses technical challenges and may require TV broadcasters to purchase new equipment. To address the issue, an industry organization recently produced guidelines on how to process, measure and transmit audio in a uniform way.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., requires the FCC to adopt those recommendations as regulations within a year and begin enforcing them a year later. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is the driving force behind the bill in the House.
Its title is the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it’s time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. “TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial,” he said.
I’m so glad these folks are on the side of the American people! I mean, they delayed until after the November elections the vote on whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts, but the issue of the loudness of the commercials on your television set just had to be addressed.
Because it’s about the priorities, you see.
I swear, you cannot make this stuff up.