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‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ slapped with $395K fine for using emergency tone in skit


A sketch by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel about the presidential alert system has resulted in a costly fine.

ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, will pay nearly $400,000 to the Federal Communications Commission for using the national alert tone in a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” skit last year.

On Thursday the FCC announced the settlement in ABC agreed to pay $395,000 and a pledge to not simulate the national alert tone again. Several other company’s were also hit with fines related to unsanctioned use of the tone.

Broadcasting the Emergency Alert System tone is banned by the FCC to prevent confusion, alert fatigue, and “false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a test “presidential alert” on Oct, 3, 2018. Kimmel mocked the new national alert system in a sketch that used the alert tone three times.

ABC said the tone was placed in the sketch because of a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible.” Since its original airing, ABC has scrubbed the tone from the sketch.

AMC paid $104,000 civil penalty after the EAS tone appeared in an episode of “The Walking Dead.” Discovery’s Animal Planet played the tone after an actual EAS alert was sent and picked up by equipment while filming an episode of “Lone Star Law.” Discovery paid a $68,000 civil penalty for the slip.

Meruelo Radio Holdings paid a $67,000 civil penalty for using the tone in a radio promotion that aired dozens of times.