The CALM Act prohibits the sound of television commercials from being louder than the average volume of the program. Here’s what to do if the commercials on your TV are too loud.
Have you ever noticed that commercials sometimes seem louder than the actual TV show you’re watching? If so, you are not alone.
Recently one viewer VERIFY by e-mail to ask our team if there is a law that regulates how loud TV ads can be.
“It seems to be getting louder and louder,” the viewer wrote.
Is there a law that regulates how loud a TV commercial can be?
Yes, there is a law that regulates how loud TV ads can be.
WHAT WE FOUND
There is a law that regulates how loud commercials can be on traditional television in the United States. In 2010, Congress passed in Commercial Advertising Loudness Reduction Act (CALM)., which requires commercials on broadcast, cable, and satellite television to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The rules of the CALM Act are as follows regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The CALM Act does not apply to commercials that air on streaming services such as Hulu, YouTube TV, or Peacock because they are not regulated by the FCC. In May 2022, the legislation was adopted introduced in Congress to amend the current law to include streaming services, but it did not advance to a vote.
Jonathan Ogle, founder and director of The Infinite Agency, an integrated advertising agency based in Dallas, Texas, told VERIFY that commercial advertisers are working with broadcast, cable and satellite television stations to ensure their ads comply with the CALM Act.
“Our job is to make sure we meet the specifications set by the platforms and networks,” Ogle said. “And so when we send these files, we usually try to do it at what’s called a medium volume level. And then the networks have to play at the same levels.”
Although the FCC sets the rules, it does not monitor programs for loud ads. Instead, it relies on viewers pointing out potential problems. If you have come across what you believe is a violation of the loudness rules for commercial TV advertising, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
Here’s what to include in your complaint:
- If you have seen an ad on broadcast, cable or satellite television
- The name of the advertiser or product being advertised in the commercial
- Date and time of viewing the commercial
- The name of the TV program during which the commercial was shown and the channel number or station call sign
If the commercials are still too loud on your TV, then FCC recommends checking the sound settings on your TV. Some models have features that normalize the volume level to ensure consistency between programs and advertisements.
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