Well it worked: Everybody is now paying attention.
TBS is facing a possible Federal Communications Commission fine for running a Conan promo that simulated an Emergency Alert System warning. The FCC says using a false distress signal is a violation of its rules. “It is inexcusable to trivialize the sounds specifically used to notify viewers of the dangers of an incoming tornado or to alert them to be on the lookout for a kidnapped child, merely to advertise a talk show or a clothing store,” said Enforcement Bureau Acting Chief Robert H. Ratcliffe in a statement. “This activity not only undermines the very purpose of a unique set of emergency alert signals, but is a clear violation of the law.”
Turner acknowledged it received complaints about the promo, but argued it did not use an actual EAS tone but one meant to suggest a color bar test pattern. But FCC said the promo was close enough to fool (and apparently annoy) viewers. The FCC has issued a $25,000 fine notice to TBS, which had no comment.