Commercial law turns the ads’ volume down and keeps US viewers calm
the end it took an act of Congress, but US television advertisers are finally required to do something for which parents have been pleading for decades – turn down their excessively loud ads. ‘‘A small Bill with a big impact for the American consumer’’ is how Representative Ann Eshoo describes the CALM Act, which came into force this month to the blessed relief of countless television watchers. ‘‘TV is about to become quieter,’’ she says. For years Americans have endured television with excessively loud commercials, but the CALM Act – Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation – is changing that. ‘‘The rules require that commercials have the same average volume as the programs they accompany,’’ says the Federal Communications Commission, which Congress empowered to enforce the new measures. Eshoo, from California, says the issue hit home with her four years ago during a family dinner, when she was cooking and relatives were gathered around the tube. ‘‘Everyone was watching and talking and then the blast arrived . . . and I shouted out to my brother-in-law, ‘Do something about that! Turn that thing down’,’’ Eshoo says. ‘‘And he turned around and said to me, ‘You’re the Congresswoman, why don’t you do something about it?’ ’’ The FCC noted complaints about loud ads began in the earliest days of TV and were among the leading causes of complaints since 2002, when it launched a call centre.