Obama signs law to limit volume of TV commercials

President Obama on Wednesday signed into law a bill that will regulate the volume of television commercials.

According to the White House, the “Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation" or “CALM" Act "requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prescribe a regulation limiting the volume of audio on commercials." The regulation applies to "television broadcast stations, cable operators, and other multichannel video programming distributors." 

Under the new law, commercials can be only as loud as the decibel level of regular programming.

The bill was sponsored in the House this fall by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) who said at the time that it would mean that, "Consumers will no longer have to experience being blasted at. It’s a simple fix to a huge nuisance.”

The bill requires the FCC to develop regulations within one year that would comply with international standards for digital television while limiting the volume of TV ads. Broadcast stations, cable distributors and other video content providers who demonstrate the new rules would pose a hardship will be able to apply for a waiver to avoid the regulations.

“Most Americans experience the frustration of abrasively loud television commercials, with advertisers grabbing for our attention through this intrusive practice,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “While this is far from the biggest issue we face, it will mean one less daily annoyance in our lives."