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FCC Fines Jacksonville Station for Airing False Emergency Alerts

Variety logo Variety 5/30/2017 Ted Johnson
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Tegna Inc. will pay a $55,000 penalty to the FCC after its Jacksonville, Fla., station falsely broadcast emergency alert tones.

The station, WTLV-TV, last year featured advertisements for the the Jacksonville Jaguars that featured the tones, according to the FCC.  In addition to the fine, the company will implement “a compliance and reporting plan to avoid such actions in the future,” according to the agency.

The advertisement, which aired four times in August, opened with the emergency tones accompanied by the sounds of howling winds and thunder claps. A voiceover state,  “This is an emergency broadcast transmission.  This is not a test.  This is an emergency broadcast transmission.  This is not a test.  Please remain calm.  Seek shelter.”  The promotion closed with emergency tones playing in the background.

Stations are prohibited from featuring the emergency tones for anything other than an actual emergency or test or certain public service announcements.

The FCC said that a staff member of the station halted the broadcast of the ad. The FCC also received a complaint.

Tegna is the broadcast and digital media entity spun off from Gannett.

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