Loud Commercials-Now Against the Regulations
Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) rules will soon require commercials to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. In the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, Congress directed the FCC to establish these rules, and they will go into effect on December 13, 2012.
Q: Does the FCC currently regulate loud commercials?
A: The Commission adopted rules on December 13, 2011 that will require commercials to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The rules will become effective on December 13, 2012, 1 year after the date of their adoption. This gives broadcast television stations and pay TV providers until this date to be in full compliance.
Q: What does the CALM Act require the FCC to do?
A: Specifically, the CALM Act directs the Commission to establish rules that require TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers or other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) to apply the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s (ATSC) A/85 Recommended Practice (“ATSC A/85 RP”) to commercial advertisements they transmit to viewers.
Q: What is the ATSC A/85 Recommended Practice?
A: The ATSC A/85 RP is a set of methods to measure and control the audio loudness of digital programming, including commercials. This standard can be used by all broadcast television stations and pay TV providers.
Q: When did the rules take effect?
A: The Commission’s rules became effective one year after their adoption, on December 13, 2012.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the compliance date?
A: Yes. A one-year waiver of the effective date of the rules may be granted by the Commission to any TV station, cable operator or other MVPD that shows financial hardship in obtaining the equipment to comply with the new law. The Commission has authority to renew the waiver for one additional year. In accordance with the new rules, several small TV stations and MVPDs have certified to the Commission that they qualify for a one-year waiver of the effective date of the rules. These “streamlined financial hardship waiver requests” are publicly available in the CALM Act proceeding’s docket, MB Docket No. 11-93, through the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (“ECFS”) using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: fcc.gov. Generally, these waivers apply to small cable systems or small TV stations, often in smaller TV markets.
Q: What can I do about loud commercials?
A: Provide the FCC with specific information about TV commercials that seem louder than the programming they accompany by filing a complaint. You may also submit a complaint to the relevant TV station, pay TV provider, programming network or advertiser to convey your concern.
Edit-If you have a sound level app on your smart phone-Use it to prove your compliaint