Eshoo’s TV ad volume bill is signed into law

The next time you need not reach for the remote during a commercial break, thank Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

President Barack Obama today signed into law S.2847, the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, which forbids television ads from playing at a volume noticeably louder than the programs during which they air. Eshoo’s House version of the bill passed the House a year ago but wasn’t taken up in the Senate; S. 2847, introduced by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., contained Eshoo’s language and advanced this year. The Senate passed it unanimously on Sept. 29 and the House passed it on a voice vote Dec. 2.

“With the signing of the CALM Act, the top consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission for over a half century is now addressed,” Eshoo said in a statement issued this afternoon.

“Households across the country will now get the relief they deserve from the annoyance of blaringly loud television commercials. Consumers will no longer need to dive for the ‘mute’ button during commercial breaks,” she said. “My simple, two-page bill reduces the volume of television commercials, allowing them to be no louder than regular programming. It gives the control of sound back to the consumer, where it belongs. While this small bill doesn’t solve the many challenges facing our country, it is a commonsense solution for a national nuisance.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Bless her heart! Now the unemployed sitting in front of their sets all day won’t get headaches. I’m going to miss this Congress.

  • John W

    Who says Congress can’t get anything done?

  • Robert Fellmeth

    Thank you Anna. I know the talking heads will all sneer, especially the self-interested TV folk (including Olbermann) who have called this bill an irrelevant distraction. But I think getting blasted out of your chair every ten minutes warrants a response. It has been an annoying abuse that hits us in our living rooms across the nation. The FCC used to handle this and it is sad the Congress had to act.
    We who can still hear thank you.

  • James Mobley

    Thanks Anna, I just hope that the bill reaches all the way over to Georgia. I can’t stand the loud automobile commercials. Now you need to work on the extra loud adds that I get when I play Comcast videos. Thanks.

  • Dodie

    My boyfriend and I sleep radically different hours. When I am so very careful to keep the volume such that I can barely hear it, and am suddenly, frantically grabbing for the remote-I will not buy the product advertised. I decided this when my Mom and Grandmother were both near deaf, and I couldn’t watch anything but PBS with them, or go deaf myself.

    Marketers are like children-they need to be told what to do. Thanks Rep. Eshoo!

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Now, if we could just have all political ads automatically muted, with the ability to override by pushing the mute button. It’ll never happen!

  • Beauty

    I’m really excited that someone really did something about this but it is crazy that the government got involved isn’t it? Continue to Thank Anne because it is amazing that she did it. It just might be a little to late though because I heard it doesn’t go into affect until December of 2012. That is crazy! This is why I’m really glad that I’m an employee with DISH and had the chance to learn about the new device called the Hopper. The Hopper has this feature called TruVolume that levels out the volume of commercials. So you never have to worry about loud commercials again! Pretty cool, huh? Well I don’t know about you but I’m getting a hopper so that I don’t’ have to wait any longer for Congress to do something. Like you said John, “Who is congress to get anything done?”