I couldn’t be happier! Soon, I’ll be able to watch TV without my trigger finger nervously hovering over the volume control on the remote in anticipation of the decibel spike announcing the next commercial. Yippee!
Hats off to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and her Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) bill. Apparently, the bill was a result of Eshoo watching TV with her already hearing-challenged parents. (Ouch! Makes my ears ring just to imagine the din in that family room.) President Obama signed off on the bill on Wednesday, December 15, and advertisers will have a year – under the FCC’s watchful eye, er, ear – to adjust the volume of commercials to the same level of the TV programs they accompany.
But, while happy about the CALM Act becoming law, I can’t help but feel, well, naïve. I thought loud commercials were possibly the result of some technical glitch or perhaps the fault of my own TV and/or cable provider. After all, why would anyone intentionally assault the ears and senses of prospective customers at 10-minute intervals?
Unfortunately, someone thought it was worth doing. And the rest of the advertising world followed suit. I certainly don’t think I remember a particular product’s features or benefits due to the obnoxious volume in which they were announced on TV. Rather, my first instinct, when my ear drums vibrate uncontrollably and the paint begins to separate from the walls, is self-defense. I quickly nudge the sound down in annoyance. Hence, the reason for my tight grip on the remote and the semi-permanent crook in my finger.
Because of more and louder commercials, the ad industry’s behavior is speeding the migration of couch potatoes to Tivo, Netflix and Hulu and its online cousins. I’ll be there soon enough. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean commercials are phasing out. If anything, it’s already cheaper to push advertising in a digital format. But at least I can seek solace via the volume setting in the control panel.
Meanwhile, I hope my ears – and finger – can survive the next 360-some days without permanent damage.