FCC Settles With Tegna Station Over False EAS Tones

EAS tones were included in an advertisement for the Jacksonville Jaguars May 30, 2017

WASHINGTON—A settlement has been reached between the FCC and Tegna after the Commission threw a flag over an advertisement for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars from WTLV that used Emergency Alert System tones.

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The FCC received a complaint on Aug. 9, 2016, alleging that WTLV had “aired a commercial multiple times that improperly used the EAS data burst and tone.” The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigated the Jacksonville, Fla., station and found that the advertisement opened with EAS tones accompanies by the sounds of howling winds and thunder claps. Between the EAS tones, a voiceover stated: “This is an emergency broadcast transmission. This is not a test. This is an emergency broadcast transmission. This is not a test. Please remain calm. Seek shelter.” The ad then closes with EAS tones playing in the background.

The ad aired four times between Aug. 6, 2016 and Aug. 8, 2016. After seeing a broadcast of the advertisement, a WTLV staffer halted further airings and contacted station management.

The transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones is prohibited except in cases of an actual emergency, authorized tests, or some public service announcements.

Tegna, which owns WTLV, reached a settlement with the FCC that will see it pay a $55,000 fine, admit to misuse of EAS tones, and will implement a compliance and reporting  plan to avoid this type of situation in the future.

The full settlement is available here.

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