The Federal Communications Commission past the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act. The act prevents TV commercials from blaring louder than the program and maintains constant volume levels.

I would have really appreciated this back when I watched commercials, say in the 70’s. Since we record every show, the truth is I haven’t watched a commercial in years. Advertisers knowing this, now choose to air commercials at movie theaters, to get the captured audience. Now before a movie you have about fifteen minutes of previews and five minutes commercial time. Twenty minutes of your life you can’t get back.

Thanks to satellite radio I no longer listen to commercials in my car. When I do turn on regular FM radio I’m annoyed when a commercial comes on. It’s like switching from PBS to regular television.

Loud television commercials have been banned just in time when the noise level in restaurants has gotten louder. Has anybody besides me noticed it? Do you have trouble hearing yourself speak when you’re at a restaurant? Have you found yourself shouting across the table at your dinner partner? Have you found yourself using sign language in order to be heard? Have you found yourself grabbing your waiter by the collar, pulling him close and yelling in his ear you want a side of onion rings? Have you started yearning for the days when the only annoying, loud thing in a restaurant was the crying baby at the next table? Have you given up talking over the noise to your husband? Do you suspect that the smile on his face and the reason why he always chooses this particular restaurant has nothing to with how good the food is?

Now that we got a ban for loud commercials may be one day we’ll get a ban for loud music coming from the car next to you in traffic. But by then I’m sure I’ll have a hearing aid, in which case I’ll be able to simply turn it off.

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