The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability proposing to fine Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC $20,000.00 after KDWN(AM) in Las Vegas, Nevada apparently transmitted Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) Tones during one of its radio shows – without there being an actual emergency, EAS test, or PSA.

Broadcasters are not permitted to use EAS Tones unless permitted by virtue of an actual emergency, EAS test, or PSA.  Broadcasters should be careful not to air any sounds that could cause a listener to reasonably mistake the sound for an actual EAS Tone either – doing so is also illegal and could cause the Enforcement Bureau to fine the station.

Stations are not prohibited from airing alarms, bells and police or fire sirens.  But the FCC warns that any such attention-getting noises that are broadcast need to be significantly different from EAS Tones.  If they are not, a fine may follow.

This is just one more installment in the Enforcement Bureau’s long line of actions fining stations for improper use of EAS Tones.  Just last year, the FCC fined Entercom’s station WNEW-FM $20,000 for a similar offense.

Should you have any questions about the FCC’s EAS rules, please contact your friendly broadcast attorneys at Fletcher Heald & Hildreth.