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Congress acts to stifle loud TV ads

Dec 2, 2010 6:37:00 PM - thestate.com
Here's a message TV viewers may not want to mute: The days of getting blasted out of one's easy chair by blaring TV commercials may soon be over. The House on Thursday passed a bill that would prevent advertisers from abruptly raising the volume to catch the attention of viewers wandering off when regular programming is interrupted.

The bill's House sponsor, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said it was her own "earsplitting experiences" that got her involved, recalling how the ads "blew us out of the house" when she watched television, already set at a high volume, with her late parents.

But she said her office also has gotten many messages of support and that at home people come up to her in restaurants and supermarkets to ask how the bill is doing.

"We can protect people from needlessly loud noise spikes that can actually harm their hearing," she said.

Under the legislation, now heading to President Barack Obama for his signature, the Federal Communications Commission would be required within one year to adopt industry standards that coordinate ad decibel levels to those of the regular program. The new regulations, applying to all broadcast providers, including cable and satellite, would go into effect a year after that.

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