Jimmy Kimmel Live pays $395,000 fine for sounding a false alarm on TV airwaves

The FCC announced yesterday that it reached financial settlements with several broadcasters for misusing the national Emergency Alert System.

You know, those interruptions in which you hear the tones, followed by the announcement that “this is only a test” of the system, but if it weren’t a test, they’d let you know.

Episodes of The Walking Dead, Lone Star Law, and two L.A. morning radio shows all aired the tones without authorization. In the case of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, which paid a fine of $395,000, the late-night show had used the tones in a comedy sketch lampooning the decision in October 2018 to give the president broader authority to call for such emergencies.

You can read the official consent decree between the FCC and ABC here.

Here’s the sketch in question. Don’t play this on your TV screen.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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