Nashville radio station fined $1M by FCC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A top Nashville radio station was fined $1 million by the FCC after broadcasting a fake emergency alert.

Multiple news sources report the fine was handed to iHeartMedia Tuesday. The FCC says there was an EMS transmission on the Nashville-based program “The Bobby Bones Show” in October 2014, which was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations across the nation. Bones was talking about an EAS test, which aired during the World Series, and played a recording of an earlier test.

In addition to the fine, iHeartMedia is required to implement a comprehensive compliance plan and delete EAS simulated tones from its audio production libraries.

The FCC has been cracking down on misuse of the Emergency Alert System. Fines have totaled $2.5 million in the past six months.

Note: WPLN has a bit more detail:

The false alarm occurred October 24, according to the consent decree. It was the morning after Game 2 of the World Series. A nationwide emergency alert test had interrupted the game’s TV broadcast. Then the issue came up the next morning on WSIX-FM during the Bobby Bones Show, which is heard in 70 markets.

The host aired a recording of an old EAS alert as he commented on the World Series interruption. That resulted in a cascade across the country since some stations are set to retransmit the tones automatically.

The FCC’s Travis LeBlanc says in a statement that misusing EAS tones “undermines the public’s confidence in the system.”

The $1 million WSIX penalty, which will be paid by parent company iHeart Radio, actually isn’t the biggest in the recent round of enforcement. ESPN paid $1.4 million in January for misusing emergency tones during an ad for a movie.