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Media Companies Pay Over $600k for Misuse of Emergency Alert Tones

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reached settlements with four separate media outlets in connection with their unauthorized use of emergency alert system (EAS) tones during their broadcasts.

Announced by the FCC on August 15, the settlements involve the uses of EAS tones on an episode of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” on an episode of AMC Networks’ show, “The Walking Dead,” on an episode of the Animal Planet’s show “Lone Star Law” on the Discovery Channel, and in promotional messages broadcast by Meruelo Radio Holdings’ KDAY and KDEY-FM radio stations. Consent Decrees confirming the settlements include combined payments of over $600,000 in civil penalties, with ABC paying nearly $400,000 of that amount.

FCC rules prohibit the broadcasting of EAS tones, including simulations of such tones, except during actual emergencies or during authorized tests of the EAS system.

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The text of the FCC’s press release on the Consent Decrees with the media outlets is available at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-359101A1.pdf.

The individual Orders outlining the details of each Consent Decree are available at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-19-620A1.pdf (for ABC), https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-19-621A1.pdf (for AMC), https://docs.fcc.gov.public/attachments/DA-19-626A1.pdf (for Discovery), and https://docs.fcc.gov.public/attachments/DA-19-165A1.pdf (for Meruelo Radio).

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