All of those exclamation points are your cue to read the title of this post REALLY REALLY LOUD! After literally decades of consumer complaints, the FCC is finally issuing new rules directing broadcast, cable and satellite TV companies to turn down the volume on the commercials. Recent data demonstrate that some of the ads are TEN TIMES the volume of the programs they interrupted. Apparently the switch from analog to digital broadcasting made it easier to turn up the crank on the ads. Unfortunately, the CALM Act does not take effect until December of 2012.
I was mistakenly under the impression that there already were rules about the relationship between program volume and ad volume, but while visiting with my parents, it is perfectly clear that this is not the case. My mother is a bit hard of hearing and Ed is, as many of you know, very hard of hearing (at least he now has TV ears) With Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune being staples each evening, I always cringe when the ads come on. Their remote has a "semi-mute" and a "mute" setting, and putting their TV volume on "semi-mute" makes it just right for me! But as expected, when I would mention this, I would get the standard "You can't hear that!" :-) Admittedly, my hearing is apparently keen and perhaps I am a bit over-sensitive to loudness, but I certainly look forward to the day when loud ads are history.