So where has Congress, or anyone else able to deal with the problem, been all these years?
We’re told that Congress might soon do something to mute screaming television-ad announcers. Word is that if broadcasters don’t do something about the audio bombardment, lawmakers will.
Under a current proposal, the Federal Communications System would limit advertising volumes to the average decibels of the TV show during which they appear. Currently, TV ads legally can’t be louder than the audio peak in a show, according to David Perry, the chairman of the broadcast production committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies in New York. He says ads often seem louder to viewers because a program’s volume peak rarely comes just before an ad.
At last, somebody has owned up to the fact that TV decibels often take a decided jump when commercials come on. Americans have been howling about this situation for years and most often have been brushed aside with the explanation that “there really isn’t a major jump.”
With a regulatory gun now being aimed at their heads, broadcasters say they have their own plan to lower TV ad volume, which could take effect (please! please! please!) within a couple of months. The switch to digital TV, they say, also can help by enabling advertisers to use a wider range of sounds instead of relying on pure volume to get attentions.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., concedes that the sound-level bill she recently introduced doesn’t deserve the priority of health care and war funding measures, but she considers it important and plans to pursue it. “People practically throw their arms around me when they hear about it,” she adds.
For decades, millions of Americans have been complaining about the up-step in volume when commercials hit the TV screen. Naturally, we’ll hear from TV people who feel their rights and privileges are being violated by down-volume legislation. But after years of hammering consumers with sounds they do not want, advertisers will draw little sympathy when appropriate legislation forces changes.
Promises, promises, promises. Time and again we’ve been told there will be beneficial changes. Is this finally it? Are you listening, Congress? Or do we need to make these complaints even louder?