FCC proposes $200k penalty for misuse of emergency alert sounds

FCC Open Meeting - Broadband Plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a $200,000 financial penalty against the Turner Broadcasting System for allegedly broadcasting advertisements that imitate the warning signals associated with the national Emergency Alert System (EAS).

According to a Notice of Apparent Liability issued in January 2014, the Commission received numerous consumer complaints in connection with an advertisement for the Best Buy retail chain broadcast on Turner’s Adult Swim cable network that included a simulation of the EAS warning signals. FCC rules prohibit the broadcasting of actual or simulated EAS attention or warning signals except in connection with an authorized test of the EAS or an actual alert.

The Commission had previously investigated separate complaints regarding the use of EAS signals in a promotion for the TBS network’s Conan O’Brien show. During that investigation, Turner represented to the Commission that it had changed it internal vetting and review process to eliminate such incidents. However, in light of Turner’s apparent willful and repeated violations of FCC rules, the Commission has proposed a $200,000 monetary forfeiture.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Notice of Apparent Liability against Turner Broadcating System.