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No more LOUD TV commercials will be jolting you, thanks to new law

WASHINGTON -- No need to dive for the mute button today: A new federal law aimed at lowering the volume of TV commercials goes into effect.

“This is clearly not the biggest thing happening in Washington. But it is one less nuisance,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a sponsor of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act, said at a Capitol Hill gathering to celebrate the law’s implementation.

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Under the rule, commercials should have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The Federal Communications Commission, which has called loud TV commercials “one of the most persistent problems of the television age,”’ said it will rely on consumer complaints to monitor industry compliance.

President Obama signed the measure nearly two years ago, but it took time for the FCC to draw up rules, and for industry groups to work through the technical issues and come into compliance.

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Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park), who said she received more response to the legislation than anything she has sponsored in 20 years in Congress, came up with the idea after a loud commercial interrupted a family dinner.

After asking her brother-in-law to do something about the volume, Eshoo recalled, he turned to her and said, “Well, you’re the congresswoman. Why don’t you do something about it?.’’

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“I never dreamed it would strike the chord that it did with the American people,’’ she said.

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