If you found yourself constantly adjusting the volume on your television during commercials, respite is here.
A law authored by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) that turns down the volume on TV commercials goes into effect today.
The CALM Act, or Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, requires TV providers to keep the volume of commercials at the same level as regular programming. The congresswoman, working with Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, pushed for the legislation after she discovered decades of consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about loud ads, according to the congresswoman.
"Earsplitting television ads have jolted and annoyed viewers for decades," Eshoo said. "With this new law, loud TV commercials that make consumers run for the mute button or change the channel altogether will be a thing of the past."
According to the FCC, loud commercials have consistently been in the top 25 consumers complaints in quaterly reports between 2002 and 2009. A 2009 Harris poll found that almost 90 percent of TV viewers were bothered by high commercial volumes, prompting 41 percent of viewers to turn down the volume, 22 percent to mute the TV, and 17 percent to change the channel altogether.
At Thursday's news conference in Washington, D.C., Eshoo recalled how her bill came into existence. At a family gathering four years ago, a commercial that she called a "blast" came on while her family watched a sporting event. After muting the ad, her brother-in-law told her to do something in Congress about the loud disturbance on the television, Eshoo said.
The FCC approved its final rules of the law last year in Dec. 2011. It took a year for implementation to give a grace period to accommodate any financial hardship on TV providers to comply with the law, according to Eshoo's spokesman Charles Stewart.
The FCC will be charged with regulating commercial volumes. According to the FCC, they will rely on consumers to monitor industry compliance with the new law. Complaints for any violators can be filed at www.fcc.gov/complaints.
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