FCC Settles Investigations Over the Misuse of EAS Tones
|RADIO ONLINE | Friday, August 16, 2019|
The FCC's Enforcement Bureau has announced a settlement with Meruelo Radio Holdings after the morning show on KDAY and KDEY/Los Angeles aired actual or simulated alert EAS tones in violation of the Commission's rules. The agency also reached settlements with a TV broadcaster and cable TV networks, where the companines will collectively pay over $600,000 in civil penalties, while each committed to a strict compliance plan to ensure such actions do not recur.
In the fall of 2017, Meruelo's KDAY and KDEY-FM included a simulation of an EAS attention signal in a promotion for its morning show. The promotion was broadcast 106 times on KDAY and 33 times on KDEY-FM's simulcast of KDAY. The company admitted to the violation, agreed to pay a $67,000 civil penalty and committed to a compliance plan.
The Enforcement Bureau has also released an Enforcement Advisory to reiterate existing law as it applies to the misuse of EAS tones. The use of actual or simulated EAS tones during non-emergencies and outside of proper testing or public service announcements is a serious public safety concern. The FCC's rules prohibit such broadcasting of EAS tones - including simulations of them - except during actual emergencies, authorized tests or authorized public service announcements.
These rules aim to protect the integrity of the alert system by helping to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.