The Federal Communications Commission is bound to get good reviews today after it voted to require cable operators and TV stations to keep TV commercials from being louder than the programs during which they air. The FCC made the unanimous ruling at a monthly meeting today, acting on the recommendation of Congress which last year passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, (as in CALM down commercials, CALM down!) Congress's law required the FCC to write rules about the volume, and they've happily obliged. As anyone who watches a lot of TV can tell you, it's often jarring when you're favorite show, with the volume set just-so, goes to commercial and suddenly some happy lady is SHOUTING at you about how much she loves her vacuum cleaner after which some mustachioed man is SCREAMING about how cheap his wall-to-wall carpets are. It's kind of a clever advertising tactic on the part of advertisers, forcing the viewer to hear their message, exept that it seems to have backfired since loud commercials appear to be something of a casus belli for a lot of people. As Businessweek reports:
Loud ads perennially rank as a top consumer complaint at the agency. In 25 quarterly reports on consumer complaints released by the FCC since 2002, 21 listed the loudness of television commercials as a top complaint, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, said as he introduced the bill approved last year.
Finally! The government takes issue on a matter of importance to the American people. So then, maybe America will finally look the other way on all of Congress's other deadlocks and bump their brutal approval ratings? No, they probably won't.