Congress takes on the TV commercial
Our nation is multi-trillions of dollars in debt, unemployment is climbing and we're fighting two wars on the other side of the world, but Congress has the TV commercial thing under control.
The Federal Communications Commission is taking up provision of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act -- CALM -- on Thursday, which requires television ads to be no louder than the average decibels of the program during which they appear. Currently, they can be no louder than the loudest decibels in the program.
Sponsor Anna Eshoo, a California congresswoman, got 63 co-sponsors to sign on in the House and two in the Senate.
Eshoo says her bill has wide support -- "people practically throw their arms around me when they hear about it," she says.
We understand the temptation to sponsor such legislations. Trillions of dollars of red ink and health care reform are hard to wrap one's mind around, but loud commercials, that's another matter. It's easy for members of Congress, frustrated by dealing with the big, difficult issues, to try to take action against life's little annoyances.
But broadcasters say they will take advantage of new digital broadcast technologies rather than brute force in getting the advertizers' messages across. And there must be circuits in the works, if not already available, that limit sudden blasts of sound from television sound systems.
Let's hope the FCC and lawmakers take long enough to act that the law is no longer necessary.
Better yet, viewers can shut off the television and read a book -- or a newspaper.