Legislation I can get behind!
California state Rep. Anna G. Eshoo ... introduced H.R. 6209, otherwise known as the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act. The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to "prescribe a standard to preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program they accompany."
In doing so, she has tapped into an issue that often rankles TV viewers: Why do TV ads seem to shout like a ringmaster at the top of his lungs, when the TV shows they interrupt often speak in modulated tones?
This woman is my new hero. Or heroine, I suppose.
Ms. Eshoo's bill, however, has sparked reaction among the people who count on TV commercials to help generate sales and purchases. Marketers themselves would prefer to devise a solution on their own rather than getting a government mandate on how loud Billy Mays can talk about OxiClean. What's more, major media companies such as CBS Corp. and NBC Universal have been working to address the issue.
Billy Mays does crack me up. Especially those ESPN commercials he does. They're awesome.
Some concern exists whether such a volume-moderation law could be enforced. The typical TV-ad buy often doesn't include information on the level of sound or the plotline of the program in which a commercial will air. "From the advertiser point of view, obviously they don't want to violate a law, but they may not have control over where the ad shows up," said Dan Jaffe, exec VP-government relations, Association of National Advertisers.
Ms. Eshoo doesn't seem to buy that line of thinking. "They haven't chosen to do a darn thing about it all of these years, and I believe it remains the top complaint to the FCC," she said.
I have one message for advertisers: Fuck 'em.
[S]ome ads are just loud because they're designed that way. Rock music has become a more common element in some TV commercials. Likewise, some commercials of the direct-response variety employ pitchmen who speak in booming fashion. Other loudness might simply be due to a viewer's perception [Yeah, right]. Ads often play at the higher end of broadcast volume, but the TV shows they support typically have noisy moments and quiet ones.
Once again: Fuck 'em.
There's more at the link. I miss most commercials, as I DVR most of the television I watch and can therefore fast-forward through the ads, but man! they're really loud. Occasionally I won't hit the FF button soon enough or I won't time it right and catch the very end of the block of ads and I can't believe how loud they are. A lot of television shows are doing what movies do these days - having really, really quiet dialogue and louder action scenes, which is annoying enough, but then, when the commercials come on, the volume is even louder. It's extremely annoying.
Yes, I know we have more important things to worry about. But this is still awesome legislation. Good for Ms. Eshoo!