Turner Broadcasting System has been issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (PDF) due to complaints about the repeated misuse of Emergency Alert tones over its network. The FCC found that Turner is liable for a forfeiture amount of $200,000.
This is on the heels of a warning and notice in November, 2013, which effectively fined the network $20,000 for airing a simulation of Emergency Alert tones in a promotion for the Conan show in 2012.
According a statement released today, the most recent use of Emergency Alert tones occurred in January, 2013 on the Turner-owned Adult Swim channel during the broadcast of a Best Buy commercial promoting the release of an A$AP Rocky album. The FCC argues that, “…during the Bureau’s earlier investigation into Turner’s misuse of the EAS sounds in a promotion for the Conan show, Turner represented to the Commission that it had changed its internal review practices after the first incident. Nevertheless, another Turner-owned channel, less than one year later, transmitted yet another commercial that used simulations of EAS sounds, doing so 14 times over a six-day period.”
This is a stern warning and is another sign that the FCC means business when it comes to the importance of Emergency Alert tones. These signals are only to be used when airing actual Emergency Alerts or Tests and the FCC has grave concerns about any other use which could not only confuse the public, but also lessen the effectiveness of actual alerts. As these fines suggest, these regulations apply to all broadcasters, even cable and satellite broadcasters not typically regulated by the FCC.