FCC regulates TV commercial sound levels

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has addressed one of the most vexing problems facing consumers, that is, the sound level of television commercials.

In a Report and Order issued in December 2011, the Commission implemented the provisions of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010. Under the Commission’s new rules, commercials must have the same average volume as the television programs they accompany. Compliance with the requirement is specifically demonstrated by a broadcaster’s application of the guidance detailed in the Recommended Practice developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee in 2009, and the use of Recommendation BS 1770 measurement algorithm developed by the International Telecommunication Union.

The new commercial sound level rules apply to digital TV broadcasters, digital cable operators and other digital multichannel video programming distributors, and become effective in December 2012.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Report and Order on its implementation of the CALM Act.