ProComm Blog

The CALM Act: What You Need To Know

If you are the type of person who likes to doze off to the sounds of your favorite late night TV show, then you may also be the type who gets annoyed by the occasional spike in volume when these shows cut to commercial.

Well, you’ll be glad to hear that this will soon be a thing of the past. Beginning next month, FCC guidelines will go into effect that regulate the loudness of commercials in relation to the programs they accompany. It’s called the CALM act, and here’s the skinny:

What is the CALM act?

The ‘Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation’ act was passed into law in late 2010 and adopted by the FCC in December 2011. It’s the government’s answer to the complaint that commercials on television are sometimes much louder than the program material.

When does it go into effect?

The FCC rules will go into effect on December 13, 2012.

What does it mean for broadcasters?

Beginning in December, broadcasters will be expected to follow the guidelines set forth by the FCC to keep the average volume of commercials the same as the program material they accompany. Media distribution companies, such as DG systems, are already adhering to the new standards. This makes it important for post production facilities to be familiar with the standards as well.

Where can I find out more?

Use these links to get more information on the CALM act:

Qualis Audio has a great reference page for details on the law and how to adhere to the standards.

Wikipedia has a good overview and short history.

The FCC guidelines (and information for lodging a complaint, if you’re so inclined)