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

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.