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Walking Dead, Jimmy Kimmel hit with $500K fines for using prohibited alarm tones

The FCC has fined AMC and ABC hundreds of thousands of dollars for using emergency tones when there wasn't an emergency.


Fake alarms during a Walking Dead episode have cost AMC over $100,000 in fines.


ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live and AMC's Walking Dead have had to pay half a million dollars in fines between them for broadcasting prohibited emergency tones.

The FCC prohibits the broadcasting of Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert tones, or simulations of them, except "during actual emergencies, authorized tests or authorized public service announcements," the FCC said.

A skit aired on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Oct. 3, 2018 used a simulated WEA tone three times, the FCC says in a release on its site, adding that ABC transmitted the episode nationwide to 250 TV stations. ABC agreed to pay a $395,000 civil penalty and committed to a compliance plan. 

During the Omega episode of The Walking Dead in February 2019, EAS tones sounded and were then transmitted on "eight separate instances across cable and satellite systems nationwide." The FCC says AMC admitted to the violation, agreed to pay a $104,000 civil penalty and also committed to a compliance plan.

Unluckiest of all was Animal Planet's Lone Star Law, which managed to capture a WEA received by phones during its Hurricane Harvey episode. Discovery, the channel's owner, agreed to pay a $68,000 civil penalty.

Other broadcasters that have been found to have misused the warning tones include Los Angeles-area radio stations KDAY and KDEY-FM.

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