Because there is apparently nothing else they could be focusing on at this point, our U.S. Senate decided to take up an issue that’s been bothering them for a while.
The appropriately titled Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) calls for the FCC to draft new regulations which would guarantee that televised commercials can’t be obscenely loud, or broadcast at a volume that exceeds the decibel level of the program it interrupts.
Wait. The insidious evil our Congress is trying to fend against is volume? Who lobbied them to get that done? The AARP? Whatever the reason, the bill was passed unanimously. Even by the people you would think would have a problem with regulation. Apparently the hurting-our-ears industry doesn’t have enough representation on Capitol Hill.
But there is something I’ve done that most members of Congress haven’t: read the bill. Apparently, the law won’t be enforced for another year, so for the next 365 days loud commercials are still permitted. But the money quote comes in the official description of what the act does:
To require the Federal Communications Commission to prescribe a standard to preclude commercials from being broadcast at louder volumes than the program material they accompany.
AHA! I believe we’ve found a loophole. All we need to do is make all TV shows excessively loud, that way no commercial will ever be in violation of this law! Let’s use Spongebob as an example. At least once every episode, Squidward should shout “SPONGEBOB!” at the top of his lungs, thus setting the standard for how loud commercials can be. Then whatever movie promos or ads for Batman action figures (I stopped watching Nickelodeon in the 90s, so I’m only assuming they still do this) the channel runs can be as loud or thumping as possible.
But Congress, you are overlooking the obvious. If your stated goal is to protect our ears from loud, unnecessary drivel, how come you’re not banning Glee?