Those annoyed by the "noise" made by the booming commercials can breathe easy now - in the US, that is. A bill to lower the volume of the ads has been passed by the House of Representatives and is now before the Senate there.
Ms Anna Eshoo, a Democratic Representative from California, authored the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM, which mandates that TV commercials be no louder than the programs in which they appear.
AdvertisementRepresentatives unanimously passed the bill last month and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
The brief measure directs the Federal Communications Commission to develop regulations preventing ads from being "excessively noisy or strident" or "having modulation levels substantially higher than the accompanying program." The bill also addresses "average maximum loudness."
"This problem has existed for more than 50 years, but no one has properly addressed it," Rep. Eshoo said. "Under the CALM Act, consumers will no longer have to dive for the mute button."
Loud commercials have been at the top of consumer complaints to the FCC for decades. Current official FCC policy recommends that consumers "mute" commercials if they find them excessively strident. Under the CALM Act, advertisers will have one year to adopt industry technology which modulates sound levels and prevents overly loud commercials.
"It's been a singular pleasure working on this legislation. The CALM Act is an easy fix for a tremendous nuisance. In my 17 years in the House of Representatives, I've never carried a bill which has been received with so much enthusiasm by people across the country," Rep. Eshoo said.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on December 8, 2009.
The volume of television commercials is a common complaint among viewers, and advertising professionals concede the commercials are deliberately recorded on a higher decibel level than the regular programmes.
Media analyst Mark Hughes jibed that if the Congress could not solve Afghan, Iraq or healthcare, it could certainly do something about the irritating commercials. The move could indeed prove popular, he told CNN.
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