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Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act

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The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (H.R. 1084/S. 2847) (CALM Act) requires the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to bar the audio of TV commercials from being broadcast louder than the TV program material they accompany by requiring all "multichannel video programming" distributors to implement the "Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television" issued by the international industry group Advanced Television Systems Committee.[1][2] The final bill was passed on September 29, 2010.[3]

No specific penalties are given; those are to be set by the FCC in its regulations. A TV broadcaster or distributor is "in compliance" if it installs and uses suitable equipment and software.[2] Unlike some FCC regulations, cable system operators are subject to the rule in addition to broadcast stations.[2]

After issuing regulations, the FCC began enforcing those regulations on December 13, 2012,[4][5][6] after a one-year grace period.[7]


The bill was the United States Senate companion to proposed legislation in the House of Representatives by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She said she was motivated to write the bill after a loud commercial interrupted conversation at a family dinner; when she turned to her brother-in-law, asking him to "do something" about the loud television, he replied, "Well, you're the congresswoman. Why don't you do something about it?".[8] According to Eshoo, no one turned her down when she looked for supporters to the bill, and it passed the Communications Subcommittee. The technical requirements for measuring loudness were taken entirely from a formerly voluntary "recommended practice" issued by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) on November 4, 2009.[9] 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.[10]

Prior to adjourning for the midterm recess, the United States Senate unanimously passed the bill on September 30, 2010.[11] Before it was signed into law in December, minor differences between the two versions had to be worked out when Congress returned to Washington after the November 2 election.[12] The reconciled bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 15, 2010, as Public Law 111–311.[13]

On May 27, 2011, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Media Bureau (MB) Docket 11–93, to implement the CALM Act. Twelve parties filed comments, which are now available in the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).

The FCC adopted its rules on December 13, 2011, and they took effect on December 13, 2012. Television viewers are asked to report loud commercials that violate this bill to the FCC.[14]


  1. ^ Hart, Kim (June 19, 2008). "Bringing Down the Volume of Loud Commercials". voices.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "111th Congress Public Law 311". From the U.S. Government Printing Office.
  3. ^ Andre Yoskowitz (September 30, 2010). "Congress passes bill that will limit TV commercial volume". Afterdawn.com. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Quieter Commercials: CALM Act Goes Into Affect [sic]". ABC News. 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "Shhhh! A new law, the CALM Act is taking effect to keep TV commercials from blasting viewsers". The Washington Post. December 12, 2012.[dead link]
  6. ^ Holmes, Linda (December 13, 2012). "The 'Calm Act' Will Quiet Down Commercials, So What Should Congress Do Next?". NPR. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Condon, Stephanie (December 2, 2010). "Congress Lowers Volume on Blaring Commercials - Political Hotsheet". CBS News. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Whitefield, Paul (December 13, 2012). "Hugh Hefner will like the CALM Act. Other boomers? Maybe not". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Dickson, Glen (November 5, 2009). "ATSC Makes Progress On Loudness Problem". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
  10. ^ Michaels, Daniel; Williamson, Elizabeth (December 1, 2010). "Well, Hush My Mouth: Congress Is Moving Against LOUD Ads --- After Decades of Complaints, Law Makers Are Yielding to Popular Demand". The Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ Preston, Mark (September 30, 2010). "Congress to turn down the volume on TV ads". CNN. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Taylor, Andrew (September 30, 2010). "Senate votes to turn down volume on TV commercials". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  13. ^ "Public Laws of the 111th Congress, Second Session". Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  14. ^ "Loud Commercials". FCC.gov. December 13, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2012.

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