Not So Funny: ABC Hit with $395K Fine For ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Show Using Emergency Alert Tone 3 Times During 2018 Sketch Poking Fun of the Presidential Alert System

  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” was one of several shows hit with fines from the FCC for misusing the emergency alert system (EAS) tone. Kimmel’s show cost ABC $395,000 in fines.
  • Kimmel’s show used the EAS tone to make fun of the presidential alert test that took place in 2018.
  • According to the FCC, “it had settled with the networks for the misuse of the emergency alert system (EAS) tone. The tone is broadcast via TV, radio and other devices to warn of emergencies such as hurricanes and other national disasters.”
  • In a statement, the FCC said: “We remain concerned about the misuse of the EAS codes and EAS and WEA Attention Signals, or simulations thereof, to capture audience attention during advertisements; dramatic, entertainment and educational programs, and at any other time that there is no genuine alert.”
  • The statement continued: “The FCC may issue sanctions for such violations, including, but not limited to, monetary forfeitures.”
  • During an episode on October 3, 2018, Kimmel’s show used a tone three times during a sketch.
  • Earlier that same day, “roughly 225 million electronic devices across the U.S. received the ‘Presidential Alert’ that read  ‘THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.’”
  • The FCC said the tones were improperly used during the late-night show, which ABC admitted to when it signed a consent decree.
  • ABC said in a statement: “ABC takes regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue.”
  • AMC Networks was fined $104,000 for a February episode of “The Walking Dead” that used an alert tone.
  • Additionally, “Discovery agreed to pay $68,000 for using an actual wireless emergency alert tone in an episode of Animal Planet’s ‘Lone Star Law.’”
  • Meruelo Radio Holdings agreed to pay $67,000 for using a tone during a radio promotion.

Reference Links

  • Fox: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ hit with hefty fine for using emergency alert tones READ
  • Hollywood Reporter: ABC Fined $395K by FCC for ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Emergency Alert Misuse READ
  • USA TODAY: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ fined by FCC over use of emergency-alert tones READ
  • Deadline: ‘Walking Dead’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ & Others Hit With FCC Fines For “Misusing” Emergency Alert Tones READ

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