I last spoke about this back in October, and I’m afraid it fell off the viewscreen for a bit, but I learned yesterday that the “CALM Act of 2009” (view on govtrack) passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote.
Unfortunately, a voice vote means nobody can tell me how many voted for and how many voted against, so I can’t even make an educated guess regarding its eventual fate in the Senate.
If you haven’t heard of this bill, it basically says a TV commercial can’t be “louder than the program it accompanies” nor can it be “excessively noisy or strident.” It’s a very simple bill (in fact less than two pages long), as all the technical parts are taken care of in an industry-produced set of guidelines called the “Recommended Practice: Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television.” I think you’ll agree that plenty of TV signal operators ignore these recommended practices.
I’ve only come across one criticism of the bill. To paraphrase, “There are many more important things our Congress should be working on.” I agree, and I believe that they are also working on those. On the other hand, this idea is at least thirty-four years overdue, and I doubt it takes long at all for a Representative or a Senator to make up his/her mind about it. If the bill does become law, this Congress will officially be my favorite Congress ever.
Ironically, since we turned off the regular TV service and are relying on almost-completely-legal Internet sources for our shows, we haven’t had any problems with commercial volume. The future wins again.
Updated March 26, 2017 and originally published January 12, 2010.