The irritating scheme in which television commercials automatically spike in volume could soon be a thing of the past.
Nearly everyone has experienced this obnoxious marketing ploy. You're watching a TV show and, when a commercial comes on, the volume increases dramatically without your touching the remote.
Advertisers want the volume louder, in case you wander away from the TV during the commercials. If you cared about commercials, you would stay put. But you don't care, because they're commercials (unless it's during the Super Bowl). Advertisers know this, so they jack up the volume as if to punish you for not caring about their paid message.
Congress is actually trying to stop this annoying practice. The House last week approved by voice vote a bill aimed at stopping TV ads from being played louder than programs.
The legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission to enforce broadcasting industry guidelines on uniform sound levels. Broadcasters for years have failed to comply with their own standards voluntarily.
Some critics complain that Congress shouldn't waste its time on this issue. But Congress wastes time on all manner of proclamations and trivia that don't affect nearly as many people as the unwanted blaring of their own television sets.
Others note that a solution is as simple as turning off your TV. But why should a viewer need to do that, just to escape an annoying advertising ploy in his or her own home? Advertisers shouldn't be able to dictate the volume level of your television in your home.
If broadcasters were smart, they'd take steps to enforce this reasonable standard before Congress legislates the issue. If not, the Senate should proceed with identical legislation and spare us all from this nightly annoyance.