FCC Fines Broadcaster $20,000 for Improper Use of EAS Tones

Posted on April 30th, 2020 by

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to a station in New York City for improper use of the EAS Tone in a parody the station aired about the first National EAS Test.  Although the tone used lasted only for one second, and aired on only one station, the FCC issued the fine.

The FCC has wide latitude to issue substantial forfeitures for improper use of EAS Tones, and does so frequently.  Such improper uses undermine the integrity of the emergency alert system, cause confusion, or result in alert fatigue that can cause people to ignore life-saving warnings.

We’ve not yet heard whether there will be a National EAS Test this year, but fully expect there to be one.  Those are typically announced in early summer, and are conducted in September.  But stations did recently receive an email from the FCC urging them to ensure the security of existing EAS equipment.