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When and How Will the CALM Act be Enforced?

Required Compliance Could Take Until 2012

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Young woman watching television, rear view
Newton Daly/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Updated May 16, 2014
On December 15, 2010, President Obama signed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, requiring TV broadcasters to ensure that commercials air at a volume no louder than the programs in which they appear. Here are some facts you need to know regarding the CALM Act.

Who Will Enforce the CALM Act?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will enforce the CALM Act once it takes effect.

When Will the CALM Act Take Effect?

The CALM Act became effective and enforceable on December 13, 2012.

What Does the CALM Act Require?

According to the FCC, the CALM Act directs the Commission to establish regulations requiring TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers or other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) to follow the Advanced Television Systems Committee's (ATSC) A/85 Recommended Practice ("ATSC A/85 RP") to transmit commercial advertisements. The ATSC A/85 RP is a set of methods to measure and control the audio loudness of digital programming, including commercials. The standard can be used by both cable and satellite TV systems.

To Report Violations, See: How to Report Violations of the CALM Act

What Else Can You Do About Loud Commercials?

The FCC suggests the old do-it-yourself approach of using your remote's volume control and "mute" button. In addition, notes the FCC, many new TV sets have the ability to eliminate volume differences between programs and commercials. These functions usually need to be "enabled" or turned on through the television receiver's "set up/audio" menu. High-end (high-dollar) home theater systems also offer audio control options that help control volume differences.

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