In the midst of the health care fiasco, billions in wasted dollars that are being discovered by the day and the Afghanistan fiasco, one member of Congress is so far successfully tackling the issue Americans really care about: Those commercials that are so much louder than the program:
Legislation by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, that would lower the volume of television ads passed a key committee vote this week. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, moving the bill to the floor for full House consideration.
“In my 17 years in the House of Representatives, I’ve never carried a bill which has been received with so much enthusiasm,” Eshoo said.
The legislation requires TV ads to play at volumes more in line with the volume of regular programming. Currently, commercials can run at the loudest volume of the programs, which means ads are consistently louder than the shows.
“This is an easy fix for a tremendous nuisance,” Eshoo said.
One problem: For a lot of TV station (and radio, I’d imagine), it’s not an “easy fix.”
Commercials are created and fed through different sources than programming. The volume levels vary wildly depending on the source (obviously, production houses create spots at higher volume levels), and this requires either an operator to manually equalize the volume levels (a lot of places don’t have one), or there is equipment that can do this automatically (which many stations don’t have). But that equipment costs money to purchase and install, and anybody paying attention to the broadcast industry lately knows that there isn’t a lot of that floating around these days, as evidenced by all the bankruptcies.
Though it might be an “easy fix” to Rep. Eshoo, because Congress always thinks that all they do is wave a wand and a problem is magically “fixed,” this, like most legislation, will cost the private sector money and is yet another hit that an already doubled-over economy doesn’t need — not that the government cares.
If only somebody would introduce legislation that would require Congress to turn itself down. Maybe somebody should tie government spending to commercial volume — when the spending goes up, the commercial volume goes up. That could be the only way to get more people to care about runaway spending.