settlement with TEGNA for false broadcast of Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones by its Jacksonville, Florida television station, WTLV.
Unauthorized use of EAS tones undermine the system’s effectiveness by desensitizing the public to the tones’ association with life-saving information and public safety announcements.
In August of last year, the station made four broadcasts of simulated EAS tones contained within an advertisement for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. To settle the investigation, the company has agreed to pay a $55,000 fine, admits to misuse of EAS tones, and will implement a compliance and reporting plan to avoid such actions in the future.
Federal law prohibits the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than an actual emergency, authorized test, or certain public service announcements.
Unauthorized use of EAS tones undermine the system’s effectiveness by desensitizing the public to the tones’ association with life-saving information and public safety announcements, and under certain circumstances, may generate additional false alerts.
The promotion aired four times over three days, from August 6 through August 8, 2016. After seeing a broadcast of the advertisement, a WTLV staff member halted further airings and contacted station management.