Monday, January 4, 2010

Eshoo, Whitehouse lead crusade against loud TV ads

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) is no longer alone her quest to bring down the volume of loud TV commercials. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined in the crusade to keep ads from blasting us out of our living rooms every 10 minutes.

The bills--both called the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (or CALM) Act--are crowd pleasers. Eshoo has 62 co-sponsors. The bill easily passed the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet in October and then by the full Commerce Committee last month. The bill is expected to hit the House floor today. 

Whitehouse introduced the bill along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). No word yet on when the Senate will have time on its schedule to take up the bill.

Silencing annoying TV ads is an easy target for Members looking to win some support from constituents, many of whom are used to turning the volume down a notch or 10 during commerial breaks. I know I wouldn't mind commercials that don't blare.

But is it a valuable use of Congress' time? Not the mention the FCC's--which would have to come up with volume standards at the same time it is trying to craft a comprehensive broadband plan and net neutrality regulations. Both could end up shifting how we all receive TV shows in the first place.

In five years, maybe Eshoo and Whitehouse will come to our rescue again to save us from those pesky, noisy, seconds-long ads we have to endure before watching our online video clips.

There is a question of whether or not consumers want government to interfere with their TV sets anymore than it already has. About 20 million households are still fuming about having to buy converter boxes and new antennas to get ready for the digital TV transition in June. And many of them are probably so thrilled to get a digital signal at all, they don't mind the commercials. Loud or not.

Posted via web from Digital Anthropology

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