Sunday, May 19, 2024
Home News Industry News iHeart Media Fined $1 Million for Fake Emergency Alerts

iHeart Media Fined $1 Million for Fake Emergency Alerts


 by Nate Rau,    2:20 p.m. CDT May 19, 2015


The Federal Communications Commission fined iHeartMedia $1 million for a 2014 incident in which Nashville-based “The Bobby Bones Show” broadcast fake emergency alerts during the nationally syndicated program.

The FCC has been cracking down on misuse of the Emergency Alert System, fining major media outlets such as Viacom, ESPN, Univision and others. Fines have totaled $2.5 million in the past six months.

“The public counts on EAS tones to alert them to real emergencies,” chief of the FCC’s enforcement bureau, Travis LeBlanc, said. “Misuse of the Emergency Alert System jeopardizes the nation’s public safety, falsely alarms the public and undermines confidence in the Emergency Alert System.”

The incident took place Oct. 24 when “The Bobby Bones Show” transmitted the EAS tone to its entire syndicated audience, the FCC said in a media release. Bones was discussing hearing the tone during a broadcast of the World Series, when he played the tone for his national audience from inside WSIX-FM studio in Nashville.

“This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing ‘The Bobby Bones Show’ and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting of a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.

The FCC uses the system to alert listeners to natural disasters and other public safety emergencies.

As part of the settlement, iHeartMedia admits it broadcast the tones and violated FCC laws. In addition to the $1 million fine, the company is required to implement a comprehensive compliance plan and delete EAS simulated tones from its audio production libraries.

After the news release went out from the FCC and media outlets began covering the fine, Bones tweeted, “BREAKING: a monkey just climbed off my back.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here