Clyburn details early results of CALM Act


In response to a letter from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn detailed the early returns after the implementation of the Calm Act, which went into effect near the end of 2012.

As reported earlier, as of 6/5/13 the FCC received almost 16,000 consumer complaints pertaining to the Act. Clyburn noted that the Commission created a special form for consumers to use after the effective date, which was 12/13/13. It received 4,777 complaints in December and 4,405 in January, and since complaints have tapered off.
Mignon Clyburn
Of the total, about two thirds were referred to the Enforcement Bureau for analysis or action; the other third were incomplete and their senders were informed of that fact and given instructions to refile.

Asked if any patterns have been discovered, Clyburn noted that determining the existence of any patterns was one of the RFCC’s primary goals, that it was a complex process and that it was in progress. They are looking for all sorts of patterns, such as by MVPD or station; by region; by specific commercial; by network/programmer; and others.

There have been 55 complaints pertaining to video-on-demand programming.

Finally, Clyburn said that waivers due to financial hardship or for good cause have been granted fairly routinely to small entities that supplied sufficient evidence. To date a total of 170 small stations and MVPDs have received waivers that give them an extra year to come into compliance.


  1. I endorse the CALM act, but I really believe they are messing with drama. A show that ends with a dramatic sequence that is quiet to set a mood, maybe is followed by a commercial at “normal” level that is perceived to be loud, because it is louder than what came before. Loudness is like how much salt is right for certain dishes or for certain people. Yes, bad engineering that doesn’t limit how much audio is allowed to pass is one thing, but to enforce the notion of loudness when you don’t know what is being segued is not rational.

    If they want to help people, they should start by figuring out a way to get all those scams off the air. Really, a belt you wear with certain creams that will help you melt the pounds away – R E A L L Y. Yes, I said that LOUD.

  2. At my house in the Denver market, on DirecTV, I can assure you that there has been VERY LITTLE done to level the commercials compared to the program material, especially with the Cable nets! We are STILL constantly raising and lowering the volume around breaks. The amount of the change is virtually the same as before – about 9 dB louder in the breaks than the program streams.

    In Denver there are few, if any, small broadcasters that would qualify for “hardship” with the likes of CBS, Scripps, Gannett and Tribune owning the 5 majors.

    The only one I HAVE noticed that has leveled off somewhat is the local FOX Affiliate (formerly and O&O). Praise be to their engineers!

    As for the rest, I will continue to report them until I hear a difference.

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