Thursday, December 13, 2012

C. A. L. M.

Do you remember this day, December 13, a year ago? You don't? It was one of the most important days in a long time for those of us that try to watch television in the morning but don't want to disturb our family members that are still sleeping. It was this day one year ago that the Federal Communications Commission passed the CALM act - Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation. Still don't know what I'm talking about? I don't blame you. It's a pretty silly name for the act but what it boils down to is that the commercials shown during a television program must not be louder, on average, than the show they are sponsoring. I wrote about it a few days after the act was passed here. The act was passed last year but the FCC decided to give the television stations and networks a year to comply with it. Well, time's up. From now on, they've got to watch the volumes. Here's a story on CNN about it.

So now, when I've turned the volume down enough to not wake my family but loud enough to make out what the newscasters are saying, I can rest assured that a vegetable slicer commercial will not come along at a louder level and wake my sleeping family. Unfortunately, this act doesn't get rid of the vegetable slicer commercials. It just guards against a volume change. And the other thing is that the FCC won't be checking for compliance. That's you and I. It's up to us to do the policing,
The Commission will rely on consumer complaints to monitor industry compliance with the rules. You may report commercials that seem louder than the programming they accompany to the FCC at any time. This information will help identify possible problem areas and will assist the Commission in enforcement of the rules. Specifically, the Commission will use the detailed information from complaints to identify patterns or trends of noncompliance for a particular station, pay TV provider or commercial.

So, put on you uniform and strap on your holster to hold you decibel meter. You can file complaints at And be happy - we're saving the government money by volunteering our services. Maybe we could do that more and cut the budget deficit.

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