Skip to main content

FCC Asks For Public Input on CALM Act

The FCC is asking for public comment on the implementation of the CALM Act, which aims to lower the volume on TV commercials.

The CALM Act was enacted by Congress on Dec. 15, 2010 and requires that the commission adopt regulations for TV broadcasters, cable operators and other multichannel programming distributors on or before Dec. 15, 2011. The new regulations will go into effect one year after they are adopted.

The legislation stems from numerous long term viewer complaints about excessively loud television commercials. In its Notice of Public Rulemaking, issued May 27, the FCC notes that commercial audio levels “have been a leading source of complaints to the Commission since the FCC Consumer Call Center began reporting the top consumer complaints in 2002.”

Prior to enactment of the CALM legislation, the TV broadcast industry, through the Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC) developed a set of guidelines for measuring and controlling audio levels in digital television. This document—A/85 Recommended Practice—was originally published in Nov. 2009 and has since been expanded to deal with commercial content (ATSC A/85 RP). These ATSC efforts have become the basis for much of the FCC’s proposed CALM regulations.

The NPRM addresses regulatory enactment, compliance, viewer complaint procedures, enforcement and other matters concerning adoption of the CALM Act.

Comments to the NPRM will be accepted for a period of 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register and reply comments may be made for 45 days after the Federal Register publication. The CALM NPRM is available for viewing.