Skip to main content

House Subcommittee Passes CALM Act

A few weeks ago RF Report discussed the Commercial Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM) from Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), which would outlaw advertisements that were “excessively noisy or strident” or were presented at “modulation levels substantially higher than the program material that such advertisements accompany.”

The Act applies to all video program providers, including broadcasters and cable and satellite service providers. CALM has now been passed out of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, and will be facing full committee consideration.

As mentioned previously, enforcing such requirements could be difficult. The marked-up version of the act includes an amendment directing the FCC to adopt technology standards developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) for resolving the loudness issues puts pressure on ATSC to develop loudness standards and recommended practices that will address viewer complaints about loud commercials. It should be noted that the ATSC has already been working on this (and will be hosting a day long conference on the subject, Nov. 4). The Act gives providers a one year grace period for compliance once it passes, and allows the FCC to grant hardship waivers for as long as two years.

This information is from Representative Eshoo's new release.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.