'Jimmy Kimmel Live' hit with $395K fine over emergency tones in skit

In their Thursday statement, the FCC named various shows and networks that "misused Emergency Alert System (EAS) or Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) tones".

ABC isn't the only U.S. cable network in trouble - AMC was fined US$104,000 after its show The Walking Dead used simulated EAS tones in two scenes in February, while Animal Planet's series Lone Star Law also misused the emergency alert system tone, receiving a penalty of US$68,000.

"The Commission has repeatedly warned that the use of simulated or actual EAS Tones for non-authorized purposes - such as commercial or entertainment purposes - can lead to unsafe "alert fatigue" whereby the public becomes desensitized to the alerts, questioning whether the alerts are for a real, imminent threat", it read. The programs were accused of violating the FCC's rules on actual or simulated alert tones.

Networks separately on Thursday agreed to pay a $104,000 fine for using an alert tone in a February 2019 episode of the "The Walking Dead".


Under FCC rules, broadcasters are barred from mimicking the warning system "to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation".

Meruelo paid $67,000 for broadcasting a simulated signal in a promotion for its morning show on southern California-based radio stations KDAY and KDEY-FM.

ABC admitted to broadcasting the alert on 3 October 2018, but said it did so under the impression that "use of the tone was permissible". Discovery, the channel's owner, agreed to pay a $68,000 civil penalty. In the sketch, a family is shown being overwhelmed by alerts from President Donald Trump saying "fake news" and "end the witch hunt". The show was filming Texas game wardens making rescues in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Just hours earlier, millions of cell phones nationwide had received a presidential alert. "No action is needed", the alert said. The system allows the US president to warn Americans via text, radio, and television of unsafe weather and to announce AMBER alerts for missing children.

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