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‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Ordered to Pay FCC $395,000 for Emergency Alert Tone Misuse

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has brought down the hammer on several networks that, according to the agency, misused the Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert tones on episodes of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” among other programs. The programs were accused of violating the FCC’s rules on actual or simulated alert tones.

In settling the investigations, the FCC slapped ABC, AMC, Discovery and Meruelo Radio Holdings with civil penalties collectively totaling more than $600,000, according to the federal agency’s release on the issue.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” violated the rule on Oct. 3 of last year during a sketch. ABC will pay $395,000 in fines and commit to a compliance plan to ensure that that will not happen again. “The Walking Dead” was fined $104,000 and committed to a compliance plan for twice using EAS tones in its “Omega Episode” in February.

“Lone Star Law,” which airs on Discovery’s Animal Planet, was also deemed an offender, and will pay up $68,000 in penalties. Meruelo’s KDAY and KDEY-FM’s morning radio shows in Los Angeles were fined $67,000 for their offenses from the fall of 2017.

“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, authorized test, or authorized PSA about the EAS or WEA that is accompanied by an appropriate  disclaimer,” said the Enforcement Bureau in a statement. “The FCC may issue sanctions for such violations, including, but not limited to, monetary forfeitures.”

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