iHeart Settles With FCC for $1M Over EAS Tone

Commission says it triggered other warnings on radio, TV
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The FCC says has settled with iHeartCommunications for $1 million for airing a fake emergency alert that triggered a "cascade" of such alerts on TV and radio stations in multiple states. iHeart also agreed to a three-year compliance and reporting plan.

The settlement stemmed from an Oct. 24, 2014 airing of The Bobby Bones Show on WSIX-FM Nashville that included the EAS (Emergency Alert System) tone. Bones was actually commenting on an EAS test that had aired during the 2014 World Series and in doing so broadcast the tone again. The show was syndicated, and the FCC said the result was that the tone was transmitted to other stations and set off other alerts.

It is only the latest in a series, five at last count, of FCC settlements or forfeiture orders—others included with Viacom, ESPN and NBCU—over EAS tone broadcasts.

“The public counts on EAS tones to alert them to real emergencies,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, in announcing the latest settlement. “Misuse of the emergency alert system jeopardizes the nation’s public safety, falsely alarms the public, and undermines confidence in the emergency alert system.”

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