Legislators seek an update to CALM Act

Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska

by Jeanine Botta, MPH, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition

In March of 2023, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Anna Eshoo introduced the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Modernization Act. The bicameral piece of legislation would update the CALM Act, enacted in 2010, which requires the volume of television commercials to be the same as that of regular programming. Whitehouse and Eshoo first introduced the CALM Act in response to family members and constituents who complained about the startling loudness of television commercials compared to standard programming. At the time, Eshoo said that the CALM Act was the most popular piece of legislation she had sponsored in nearly two decades as a member of Congress.

The CALM Act applies to a sound volume standard with television stations, cable operators, satellite providers and other video program distributors. The CALM Modernization Act would apply the same standard to streaming services. It would also enhance the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to enforce violations of the CALM Act, and it would require a study to measure the effectiveness of the legislation. 

The House bill has been in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology since April 7, and the Senate bill has been in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee since the bill’s introduction on March 30. 

If you want to report a loud commercial, visit the FCC website for instructions or file an online complaint. To report loud commercials in Canada, go to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission website for background information. You can use a public inquiries form to submit your complaints. Both American and Canadian consumers are encouraged to report loud commercials to local broadcasters and television providers as a first step, or in addition to submitting complaints.

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