FCC issues $25,000 fine after Conan O’Brien promo uses fake emergency alert

November 6, 2013
Conan O'Brien (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Conan O’Brien (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Conan O’Brien’s silly promo using emergency alert tones to hype Jack Black’s appearance on his talk show caught the attention of the FCC — and a possible hefty fine, Variety reports. The commission announced this week that it issued a $25,000 penalty to the Turner Broadcasting System (which owns O’Brien’s TBS late-night franchise) for inappropriate use of audio that sounded too close to a real national warning alert. Viewers complained about the 2012 promo, according to the FCC, which noted, “There has been a recent spike in consumer complaints about misuse of the sounds.” “Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message: the FCC will not tolerate misuse or abuse of the Emergency Alert System,” enforcement bureau acting chief Robert H. Ratcliffe said in a statement — even if they’re getting around to it 18 months after the fact.

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Emily Yahr · November 6, 2013