‘Hey, Turn the Effin Volume Down!’: It’s Now the Law that TV Broadcasters Have One Year to Make Sure Commercials Aren’t So Loud. We Think It Should Be Forever Known as the Streisand Statute

December 16, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Television broadcasters and cable operators have one year to comply with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (or CALM), after President Barack Obama signed the act into law, reports B&C.

The law directs the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the volume of commercials, meaning that consumers shouldn’t be startled by the sudden blasting of ads during commercial breaks, the story says. "The country will now get the relief they deserve from the annoyance of loud television commercials. Consumers will no longer need to dive for the ‘mute’ button during commercial breaks," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).

We here at TVWeek think the law should be dubbed the "Streisand Statute," based on Barbra Streisand’s famous call to NBC 15 years ago regarding that network’s airing of a movie in which she had both directed and starred. Here’s how the Associated Press wrote it up on February 9, 1995:

Shortly into NBC’s airing of "The Prince of Tides" the phone rang at the network’s Manhattan headquarters.

Yes, it was Barbra Streisand. And could somebody turn down the volume on those commercials?

Streisand, the film’s star and director, told The New York Times that she called NBC during the Sunday night broadcast and had an engineer lower the commercial sound by two decibels.

She was upset because volume on the commercials was much louder than the sound of her movie – a frequent problem when films are brought to the smaller screen, the network said.

"It’s true she called, but it’s a fairly standard thing," NBC spokesman Flody Suarez said Thursday. "We have producers call during shows all the time."

Streisand told the Times that the unidentified engineer followed her orders, although only after receiving assurance that she would assume full responsibility.

"He said they raise the volume all the time," Streisand said. "And I said that doesn’t make it right."#

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