Senate votes to CALM TV audio

The Senate passed legislation Sept. 30 requiring the FCC to regulate the volume of TV commercials.

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act of 2009 (S. 2847), introduced by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and co-sponsored by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), addresses one of the most frequent consumer complaints received at the FCC regarding television: the loudness of commercials.

The FCC has received consumer complaints about commercials being louder than television shows since the 1960s. Of 25 quarterly reports on consumer complaints released by the FCC after 2002, 21 listed the loudness of television commercials as a top complaint.

The CALM Act addresses the difference between the loudness of commercials and programming. The legislation was passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee in the summer.

"The common-sense bill will make sure advertisers can't just blast advertisements at consumers at unbearable volume levels," said Rockefeller, who leads the Senate Commerce Committee.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, which passed similar legislation in December 2009. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the companion legislation in the House.