FCC rules require TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV operators and other pay TV providers to ensure television commercial advertisements have the same average volume as the programs that they accompany, in accordance with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act (PDF). A commercial may have louder and quieter moments, but overall it should be no louder than the surrounding programming, which may mean that some commercials will comply with the rules, but still sound "too loud" to some viewers.

Equipment may help with overall volume

If you are experiencing problems with spikes in volume across both programming and commercials, you may be able to activate certain settings in your television or home theater system to help stabilize overall loudness. Many televisions and home theater systems have features to control loudness, such as automatic gain control, audio compression, or audio limiters, that can be turned on to provide a more constant volume level across programs and commercials. These functions usually need to be activated through the equipment's "Set Up/Audio" menu.

Filing a complaint

You have multiple options for filing a complaint with the FCC:

  • File a complaint online
  • By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL: 1-844-432-2275
  • By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Accessible formats

To request this article in an accessible format - braille, large print, Word or text document or audio - write or call us at the address or phone number at the bottom of the page, or send an email to fcc504@fcc.gov.

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Loud Commercials and the CALM Act Guide (pdf)

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Saturday, November 7, 2015 - 9:30am