Congress to Advertisers: Turn Down the Volume

For years television viewers have complained about being blasted by commercials that are dramatically louder than the programs they watch, but now because of a new act passed by Congress on Thursday, those complaints may go down the tubes.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM Act, will end the decades-old practice by forcing advertisers to adjust sound levels, preventing overly loud commercials. The new Federal Communications Commission mandate must be met within one year.

"Consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at," the bill's House sponsor, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "It's a simple fix to a huge nuisance."

A spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters points out that broadcasters and cable providers have been working to address the issue for the last two years. Reacting in a statement to the CALM Act's passage, NAB vice president of communications Dennis Wharton said, "We're pleased that the fruits of our efforts will become apparent to TV viewers over time."

Noting what some may see as trivial congressional work, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island who sponsored the bill in the Senate said, "While this is far from the biggest issue we face, it will mean one less daily annoyance in our lives."