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'CONAN' Fined by FCC for Using Emergency Alert Sounds in Old Promo

November 7, 2013 (7:26 am) GMT
TBS is slapped with a $25,000 fine for running a promo for the Conan O'Brien-hosted talk show that simulated the sounds intended to warn viewers of national emergencies.

"" lands in trouble over an old promo. The show is facing a $25,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for using emergency alert sounds in a 2012 promotional clip.

FCC has noticed the cable network about the fine for "the transmission of false distress signals," unless it can dissuade the commission within 30 days. FCC detailed that the video "used the emergency weather tones to gain attention for a commercial regarding being on the show for April 26, 2012."

"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," Enforcement Bureau Acting Chief Robert H. Ratcliffe explained. "This activity not only undermines the very purpose of a unique set of emergency alert signals, but is a clear violation of the law."

In its defense, TBS argued that the video did not use an actual EAS tone but one meant to suggest a color bar test pattern. The FCC, however, argued that the sound was enough to fool viewers into believing there's real danger.

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