Emergency situations are no joking matter, TBS has discovered.
The Federal Communications Commission fined the cable network $25,000 for a Conan promo that used a sound effect that mimicked the tones of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the FCC announced Tuesday.
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After a consumer complained about the promo, the FCC investigated in February and ruled that "the promotion includes audio material that constitutes a simulation of the prescribed EAS codes and Attention Signal." According to Deadline, Turner explained that the promo was never submitted to Standards & Practices because of a rushed timeframe, but that all of the promos for its late-night talk show since May 2012 have gone through S&P.
A secondary investigation was launched into the WNKY TV station in Bowling Green, Ky., for a similar misuse of the EAS signal in an ad for The Fan Wear & More Store. The station will pay $39,000 and implement a compliance plan to prevent future FCC EAS violations.
"Today's enforcement action sends a strong message: the FCC will not tolerate misuse or abuse of the Emergency Alert System," Enforcement Bureau Acting Chief Robert H. Ratcliffe said in the issued statement. "It is inexcusable to trivialize the sounds specifically used to notify viewers of the dangers of an incoming tornado or to alert them to be on the lookout for a kidnapped child, merely to advertise a talk show or a clothing store. This activity not only undermines the very purpose of a unique set of emergency alert signals, but is a clear violation of the law."