FCC Fines iHeartCommunications $1 Million In Consent Decree For False EAS Tones On Bobby Bones Show
May 19, 2015 at 10:33 AM (PT)
The FCC has thrown the book at iHEARTCOMMUNICATIONS, INC., part of iHEARTMEDIA, fining the company $1 million in a consent decree arising from the airing of false Emergency Alert System tones during BOBBY BONES' nationally syndicated show on iHEARTMEDIA Country WSIX-F (THE BIG 98)/NASHVILLE. The company has admitted its culpability and has also agreed to institute a three-year compliance and reporting plan and eliminate EAS tones from its production libraries.
The violation occurred on OCTOBER 14th, 2014, when BONES, talking about an EAS test that aired during the WORLD SERIES, played a recording of an earlier test, which was sent to over 70 affiliates and resulted in a "multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states."
“The public counts on EAS tones to alert them to real emergencies,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief TRAVIS LEBLANC. “Misuse of the emergency alert system jeopardizes the nation’s public safety, falsely alarms the public, and undermines confidence in the emergency alert system.”
The fine is the latest in a string of fines and settlements over the last six months for misuse of EAS tones, including fines against VIACOM, ESPN, UNIVISION, PATHFINDER COMMUNICATIONS, and SM RADIO PRODUCTIONS, totalling almost $2.5 million.