The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order that implements the 2010 Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM), in which Congress gave the commission, for the first time, authority to address the problem of excessive commercial loudness.

The rules adopted require that commercials have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The rules also establish simple, practical ways for stations and MVPDs to demonstrate their compliance with the rules.

As the CALM Act requires, the rules will become effective one year after the date of their adoption, or December 13, 2012. This gives stations and MVPDs until this date to be in full compliance. Equally important, it provides time for programmers and networks to provide their distributors with certifications stating the commercials that accompany their programming are fully compliant with these rules. These certifications, though not mandatory, will simplify the safe harbor process for all stations and MVPDs.

While consumer complaints about loud commercials have diminished since 2009, the FCC expects these new rules will reduce loudness complaints still further. (For more, see After The CALM Act R&O, What Can Operators Do To Comply?).

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