WASHINGTON, D.C. Senator Jay Rockefeller today applauded the House of Representatives' passage of The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act), which would prohibit television commercials from being played at a louder volume than the program they accompany. Rockefeller co-sponsored the bill when it passed in the U.S. Senate and is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, where the bill originated. The legislation will now be sent to the President, where it is expected to be signed into law.
"I'm glad that television viewers are now one step closer to being able to enjoy their favorite programs without the annoyance of loudly blasted television advertisements that are unfairly geared toward captive audiences," said Rockefeller. "These are hard times for many people and while this change is small, it is one that tangibly reduces annoyance in people's daily lives and is good for families. The Commerce Committee has gotten complaints about unbearably loud commercials for years especially from parents and I'm happy we are able to move this legislation forward and fix it for them."
KEY BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been aware of excessively loud television advertisements for decades, it does not currently regulate the volume of television advertisements. When television advertisements are many times louder than programming, it can be intrusive and disruptive to consumers.
The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), an international, non-profit organization that develops standards for digital television, has developed the technical standards necessary to control variations in volume. These standards, the "ATSC Recommended Practice: Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television," were approved by ATSC members on November 4, 2009 and would be utilized in the FCC's implementation of new regulations governing the volume of television advertisements.
ABOUT THE CALM ACT:
The CALM Act will require the FCC to enforce existing recommended technical standards of advertisement volumes. Within one year after becoming law, the FCC would be directed to implement regulations limiting the volume of television advertisements and effectively fixing the problem of loud television commercials that annoy so many television viewers.
The CALM Act also provides for a waiver process at the FCC for television broadcast stations, cable operators, or other multichannel video programming distributors who demonstrate that complying with the new regulations would pose a hardship.