The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has fined several networks for misusing emergency alert tones, on shows including ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and AMC’s The Walking Dead. In total, the companies have agreed to pay more than $600,000 in civil penalties.
ABC has agreed to pay $395,000 for an Oct. 3, 2018, episode on Jimmy Kimmel Live that used a simulated Wireless Emergency Alert tone three times, delivering mock presidential alerts. Meanwhile, AMC will have to fork over $104,000 for a February episode of The Walking Dead that broadcast an Emergency Alert System tone twice. Both networks have committed to a compliance plan to avoid repeating such actions.
It is “a serious public safety concern” when the tones are used during non-emergencies, the FCC said in a statement Wednesday. Its rules are in place “to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.”
Animal Planet’s Lone Star Law, as well as promos aired by Meruelo Radio Holding’s Los Angeles-area KDAY and KDEY-FM radio show, also aired actual or simulated emergency alert tones.