Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act
|Parts of this article (those related to the FCC's implementation) are outdated. (April 2012)|
The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (H.R. 1084/S. 2847) (CALM Act) is legislation introduced by United States Senator Roger Wicker, a member of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on June 18, 2008. It requires the Federal Communications Commission to bar the audio of TV commercials from being broadcast at louder sound volumes than the TV program material they accompany. The bill passed on September 29, 2010. The bill requires the use of technology to ensure that commercials will be played at the same average volume as the program. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began enforcing the bill on December 13, 2012 after a one-year grace period.
The bill was the United States Senate companion to proposed legislation in the House of Representatives by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She wrote the bill after a loud commercial interrupted a family dinner. After asking her brother-in-law to turn down the volume, he allegedly said, "Well, you’re the congresswoman. Why don’t you do something about it?". According to Eshoo, no one turned her down when she looked for supporters to the bill. The House bill has passed the Communications Subcommittee. Most of the bill consists of steps taken voluntarily by the broadcast industry and approved as "recommended practice" by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) on November 4, 2009. In fact, Rep. Anna Eshoo told the Wall Street Journal that legislation to mitigate the volume of commercials on TV was among the most popular pieces of legislation she has sponsored in her 18 years in Congress.
Prior to adjourning for the midterm recess, the United States Senate unanimously passed the bill on Thursday, September 30, 2010. Before it was signed into law by the President in December, minor differences between the two versions had to be worked out when Congress returned to Washington after the November 2 election. The reconciled bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 15, 2010 as Public Law 111-311.
The United States Congress on December 2, 2010 passed the CALM Act(H.R. 1084/S. 2847). The CALM Act, which was sponsored by Eshoo in the House, requires broadcast and cable television stations to adopt industry technology that ensures that commercials aren't louder than regular programming. The legislation attracted overwhelming bipartisan support, and President Barack Obama signed it into law Wednesday, December 15.
On May 27, 2011, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Media Bureau (MB) Docket 11-93, to implement the CALM Act. Comments were due July 8, 2011, and reply will be due on July 21, 2011. Twelve parties filed comments. Those comments are now available in the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), as will be the reply comments, when due. The FCC will then issue a Report and Order (R&O) adopting rules to implement the CALM Act. The FCC had until December 15, 2011, to do so. The Commission's rules become effective one year from when they were adopted.
The FCC adopted the rules on December 13, 2011. They took effect on December 13, 2012. Television viewers are asked to report loud commercials that violate this bill to the FCC.
- Wicker Introduces the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act
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- "EBU Recommendation R 128 - Loudness normalisation and permitted maximum level of audio signals.". EBU.
- "EBU TECH Doc 3343 v.2 - Practical guidelines for Production and Implementation in accordance with EBU R 128.". EBU.