Congress has passed and President Barack Obama has signed the CALM Act – which is intended to quiet down commercial messages on television. The FCC, on the other hand, is tasked with administering the program, and it’s giving interested persons and entities a chance to speak up on the matter.
The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act was ushered through Capitol Hill by Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the current Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, and passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The bill was a product of the 2011 lame duck session of Congress and was spearheaded in the Senate by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
It calls for commercial messages to be delivered at the same basic volume as the program content they are embedded in.
A recent report on the bill predicts it will have little or no effect, however, since volume is relative, and most entertainment programming is not broadcast at peak volume. That decibel level is saved for climactic gun battles, explosions and car crashes, among an endless list of other things.
Far more frequently, program content is at a more conversational level, and when some nut pitches his used car lot while shouting at the top of his lungs to be heard over the 150-piece college marching band that was hired for the spot, it’s still going to come out of the television speakers sounding like a supersonic transport taking off when compared to the surrounding program content. And it will be perfectly legal.