It's a situation familiar to most TV viewers. It's the turning point of your favorite show. The two protagonists are crouched behind a crate in a warehouse, hiding from some bad guys not 20 feet away. They are whispering. So you turn up the volume. Suddenly, a cut to commercials fills the room with the sound of Peyton and Eli Manning talking at an unbearable decibel about Double Stuff Oreos. You're startled, your ears hurt, and the baby wakes up in the next room.
Well, fear not! Congress has a fix -- not to terrible television ads, but to the volume at which you are forced to hear them. Despite a lame-duck session mired in partisanship, the House managed to pass the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act on Thursday, a bill that keeps commercials from blaring any louder than your regularly scheduled programming. The bill passed in the Senate earlier this year and now awaits President Obama's signature. The Federal Communications Commission could start enforcing it within a year.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., sponsored the bill, and said that it was one of the most popular pieces of legislation she has worked on.
“Consumers have been asking for a solution to this problem for decades, and today they finally have it,” Eshoo said in a statement. Thanks to the CALM Act, “consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at — it’s a simple fix to a huge nuisance.”