FCC hands out more than $600,000 in penalties over misuse of emergency alert tones

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has collectively issued more than $600,000 in fines to a TV broadcaster, cable TV networks and a radio broadcaster for misusing Emergency Alert System (EAS) / Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) tones.

According to the FCC, episodes of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and Discovery’s “Lone Star Law” aired actual or simulated emergency alert tones which violate the commission’s rules. Los Angeles-area morning radio shows also aired promos featuring the tone.

Specifically, the October 3, 2018, episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” used a simulated WEA tone three times during a comedy sketch. ABC agreed to pay a fine of $395,000 to resolve the matter.

“The Walking Dead” in February 2019 used EAS tones twice in the “Omega Episode” and has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $104,000.

Discovery’s Animal Planet network in an episode of “Lone Star Law” entitled “Thousand Year Flood” aired an actual WEA signal. The network has agreed to pay $68,000 for the violation.

In the fall of 2017, Meruelo Radio Holdings’ KDAY and KDEY-FM used a simulated EAS signal in a promotion for its morning show. The station will pay a civil fine of $67,000.

All parties have also committed to a strict compliance plan to ensure the violations do not happen again.

Masthead credit: emergency alert by Simone Hogan. Kimmel image courtesy Randy Holmes via Getty Images.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
It actually makes a LOT of sense. At the nuclear plants, I visit they have as many as 25 different alert tones that the employees must learn before they are allowed on the site. It's for their own good and the audible alert system has proven to be the most reliable. Once you get conditioned to a particular tone or alert you're mind and body will take over and steer you in the right direction. Allowing anyone to use that tone, no matter their reason, discourages and defeats the entire principle of the system, causing an unnecessary reaction and after enough of these false alerts, people tend to ignore them, putting those folks at considerable risk.
 

Dimitrios

TS Guru
It actually makes a LOT of sense. At the nuclear plants, I visit they have as many as 25 different alert tones that the employees must learn before they are allowed on the site. It's for their own good and the audible alert system has proven to be the most reliable. Once you get conditioned to a particular tone or alert you're mind and body will take over and steer you in the right direction. Allowing anyone to use that tone, no matter their reason, discourages and defeats the entire principle of the system, causing an unnecessary reaction and after enough of these false alerts, people tend to ignore them, putting those folks at considerable risk.
Reminds me on LIVELEAK or YOUTUBE when watching drivers in INDIA that all honk their horns all the time. I'm not joking, watch some of the driving video's or rickshaw drivers that use their horns and pedestrians get conditioned from hearing it all the time.
 
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treetops

TS Evangelist
Can werid of radio commercials that make honking noises? I don't see why the Walking Dead is part of that list, it's actually in context of the show.

"Los Angeles-area morning radio shows also aired promos featuring the tone."
And people feel sorry for ad companies getting blocked...