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Senate votes to lower loud TV commercials

By C.J. CASTILLO
Oct. 3, 2010 at 5:03 a.m.


I remember back in the day when having a television with a remote control was a luxury. What? Too good to walk to your TV set and change the channel? Hey, that episode of "Webster" is getting a little too loud, click down the volume a level or two, OK?

But times have changed, my friends. Sure, just about all TVs come with a remote now. And I wouldn't say that owning a television with a remote control is a necessity these days, that is, unless you want to save your ears - and sanity.

The problem I'm talking about is loud commercials. How many of you have been relaxing at home, watching your favorite TV program, it cuts to commercial and the volume level jumps so high even your pets run out of the room? The advertisers want to get your attention and blaring out their messages will do it. But it's an annoyance, and if you don't have a remote control handy to lower the volume, then you better get a broomstick long enough to reach your TV, because you'll be getting up a lot.

I know that thanks to technology, most of us probably don't even have to worry about these loud commercials these days. We have DVRs that allow us to skip through commercials, or home theater systems that automatically lower the volume on commercials. But what about those without these gadgets?

Could it be, that this assault on our ears is coming to an end?

An effort to drown out the loud commercials is making some noise, and may become a law soon. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (or CALM) has passed the Senate, and needs approval from the House now to become a law.

This act asks to "require the Federal Communications Commission to prescribe a standard to preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program material they accompany."

According to an article I read on Time.com, the FCC has been receiving complaints about loud commercials for many years, but the FCC "concluded that regulating volume was too difficult a task." Well, it seems that an industry organization has created a list of guidelines to show how to transmit audio in a consistent manner (meaning no more blaring commercials). The Senate's legislation requires that these guidelines are to be adopted by the FCC.

So stay calm, fellow TV viewers, perhaps soon we may be able to watch our favorite shows without attacks on our eardrums during commercial breaks.

CJ Castillo is the interactivity editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can contact her at cjcastillo@vicad.com. Please send all correspondence c/o Victoria Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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