The FCC has fined iHeartMedia $1 million for airing fake Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones on the syndicated “The Bobby Bones Show.”
The program originates from WSIX Nashville and is heard on 80-plus affiliated stations.
According to the FCC: “During the October 24, 2014 episode of ‘The Bobby Bones Show,’ iHeart inserted into the program an audio clip containing EAS tones, including Emergency Alert Notification (EAN) codes that aired during the first nationwide test of the EAS on November 9, 2011. The transmission of those EAN codes, in turn, engaged the EAS equipment of certain other EAS participants, ultimately causing a multi-state activation of the EAS.”
In addition to agreeing to pay the fine, iHeartMedia will set up a three-year compliance and reporting plan.
Use of EAS tones in the absence of an emergency or test of the system is prohibited. The FCC states: “Unauthorized use of actual or simulated EAS tones risks desensitizing the public to the tones’ association with life-saving information, and such ‘Cry Wolf’ mimicking of EAS tones present a real threat to public safety.”