This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to address a common consumer complaint: TV commercials that are too loud. The FCC adopted rules to implement the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (the CALM Act), authored by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and signed into law last December. The new FCC regulations require that commercials have the same average volume as the programs they interrupt, and they outline steps to ensure compliance. The FCC noted its intent that these rules execute Congress’ mandate without placing unnecessary burdens on television stations. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn reaffirmed this thought: “Consumers cried out, Congress heard them, and the FCC worked with affected industries as well as consumer representatives to address the issue. This is an example of government receptiveness and efficiency, and the American public should take great comfort in it.”
The CALM regulations take effect next December, though the FCC may grant waivers for one or two years to TV broadcasters that demonstrate a financial hardship in complying immediately.