This Friday (October 12) is the deadline for requesting a waiver under the FCC’s Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (“CALM”) Act implementing procedures, intended to combat "loud commercials."  We wrote about the implementing rules and the obligations of television stations to come into compliance with the standards set out in the rules, adopting a protocol that seeks to maintain consistency between commercials and surrounding programs, here. The Commission’s order allowed for waiver requests by stations that would have a financial hardship in complying – with such waivers being due 60 days before the compliance deadline. As that deadline for compliance is December 13, the waiver requests are due on Friday.

All such waiver requests must be submitted through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.  Waiver applicants must demonstrate that purchasing the required equipment would result in “financial hardship.”  Such waivers, if granted, will be valid for one year and may be renewed for one additional year.  The FCC also retains the authority to issue a waiver for good cause.  “Small stations” are eligible for a streamlined waiver process for demonstrating financial hardship.

Absent a waiver, by December 13, 2012 all television stations (regardless of size) are required to install, maintain and operate the equipment necessary to ensure that all commercials are transmitted to viewers at the appropriate loudness level. As we set out in our summary of the rules, stations that install, maintain and operate equipment that is compliant with the ATSC A/85 standard will be deemed in compliance with this requirement.

So, if you are interested in filing a waiver, do so fast. Otherwise, be ready to be in compliance by December 13.