Required Compliance in 2012!
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 gives the FCC until December 15, 2011 to create and adopt rules - federal regulations – by which the CALM Act will be enforced. One year following the date on which the FCC’s CALM Act regulations are adopted, TV broadcasters, including all standard, cable and satellite broadcasters, will be required to comply with the regulations.
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.
Will Exceptions to the CALM Act be Allowed?
Yes. The CALM Act gives the FCC the authority to grant a one-year waiver to any TV broadcaster that can prove it would suffer a financial hardship in obtaining the equipment necessary to comply with the regulations. The waiver may be renewed by the FCC for only one additional year.
What Can be Done About Loud Commercials Now?
Until the CALM Act regulations take effect, 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.
How to Complain About Loud Commercials
Even before the CALM Act regulation take effect, you can report TV commercials that seem louder than the program they follow to the FCC. When reporting your complaint to the FCC, be sure to include the time, channel, a description of the commercial, and whether you are watching TV using cable or satellite service or are watching broadcast television using an antenna.
You can file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Call Center at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322). Your complaint can also be faxed to 1-866-418-0232, or mailed to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554