The Federal Communications Commission continues to crack down on misuse of the Emergency Alert System tone on television.
The government agency has proposed a $272,000 fine against CBS Broadcasting for allegedly airing a simulated emergency alert tone during a nationally televised episode of â€œYoung Sheldonâ€ on April 12, 2018.
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The episode â€œincluded a sound effect accompanying a tornado warning, which the producers modified, but still audibly resembled actual EAS tones,â€ said the FCC in a release regarding the proposed fine.
A source close to the situation says that the tone on the episode, used in the context of a story line involving a tornado warning, was deliberately altered and played behind dialogue so as to avoid viewer confusion.
CBS declined to comment.
The agency said that CBSâ€™ modifications to the EAS tones were still not permissible because the tones used in the episode of â€œYoung Sheldonâ€ were â€œsubstantially similarâ€ to actual EAS tones. An enforcement advisory from the FCC last month reiterated that broadcasting actual or simulated EAS tones during non-emergencies and outside of testing periods is an FCC violation and â€œserious public safety concern.â€
In August, the FCC reached settlements with ABC, AMC, Discovery and Meruelo Radio Holdings for misusing the Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert tones on episodes of â€œJimmy Kimmel Live!â€, â€œThe Walking Deadâ€,â€ â€œLone Star Law,â€ and KDAY and KDEY-FMâ€™s radio shows, issuing civil penalties collectively totaling more than $600,000.
CBS will be given an opportunity to response to the proposed action, known as a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forefeiture, according to the FCC. The agency will then consider the submission of evident and legal arguments before making any further decisions.