The tone was misused three times during an October 2018 sketch about a recent presidential alert test. ABC blamed a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible,” according to the FCC’s filing posted online Thursday.
The network also “took steps to remove the portion of the Episode containing the WEA Tones from its website and other online streaming sites, and decided not to rebroadcast the Episode,” according to the filing.
AMC has also this week copped a $104,000 fine from the FCC for using the Emergency Alert System tone in the “Omega” episode of its post-apocalyptic zombie show “The Walking Dead” that aired in February.
Discovery, meanwhile, was hit with a $68,000 penalty over a 2018 episode of its Animal Planet reality show “Lone Star Law” which broadcast an actual Wireless Emergency Alert tone that had been recorded during filming.
“The use of actual or simulated EAS tones during non-emergencies and outside of proper testing or public service announcements is a serious public safety concern,” the FCC said in a statement shared online.
“The FCC’s rules prohibit such broadcasting of EAS tones – including simulations of them – except during actual emergencies, authorized tests or authorized public service announcements,” the statement read. “These rules aim to protect the integrity of the alert system by helping to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the tones had been aired during a sketch about Donald Trump called “The Textening.”