Conan O'Brien Faces $25,000 FCC Fine For False Emergency Alert Sounds
Apparently, the FCC frowns upon simulating false emergency alert sounds on TV—and Conan O'Brien just learned the hard way. Today the FCC slapped a $25,000 fine proposal on the TBS late-night show host for a promo the station used back in April 2012.
The promo “used the emergency weather tones to gain attention for a commercial regarding Jack Black being on the show for April 26, 2012,” FCC said, according to Variety. Turner had received complaints from viewers about the alert sounds as well as the FCC, which tipped them off to the situation.
During the investigation, Turner admitted to the FCC they hadn't properly reviewed the FCC standards and practices when they made the promo, reported Reuters. The network faces the fine unless they are able to prove within 30 days that the FCC was wrong.
"It is inexcusable to trivialize the sounds specifically used to notify viewers of the dangers of an incoming tornado or to alert them to be on the lookout for a kidnapped child, merely to advertise a talk show or a clothing store," said Enforcement Bureau acting chief Robert H. Ratcliffe, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "This activity not only undermines the very purpose of a unique set of emergency alert signals, but is a clear violation of the law."
It looks like that's the last time Jack Black's appearance will induce emergency alert signals.