CALM Act appears floor-ready in the House


Anna Eshoo (D-CA) says that The Calm Act, her bill to put a cap on the volume allowance for television commercials is the most popular piece of legislation she has ever put into play. The Senate has already passed a version, and it appears the House is about to follow suit.

Consumers have long complained about commercials that blast out of their television set at volume levels far above the average of the programming they are run with. Broadcasters say this is not intentional on their part, but rather is a bi-product of the fact that the material broadcast within the time period of a given program is coming from multiple sources, each with a unique set of production values. However, it is expected that there are technical solutions that will allow compliance with the bill, should it become a law.

As reported by RBR-TVBR, the Senate passed the bill earlier this year, in late September.

The Senate summarized the bill, writing, “The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt a regulation limiting the volume of television advertisements, consistent with existing recommended technical standards. The FCC would have to implement these regulations within one year of the CALM Act becoming law. This would effectively fix a problem that annoys many television viewers—when commercials are many times louder than the regular programming they are viewing. The CALM Act also makes clear that the FCC may grant waivers to television broadcast stations, cable operators, or other multichannel video programming distributors that demonstrate complying with these rules would pose a hardship.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Some readers responding to earlier stories on this topic in RBR-TVBR commented that Congress must have better things to do with its time then mess with the volume on our television sets. But the fact remains that there is always time for low level legislating in between work on major issues, and this bill is seemingly so popular with average citizens that its ultimate passage seems almost guaranteed.