FCC Cracks Down on Misuse of Emergency Alert Signal in Ads

Slaps Viacom, ESPN and NBCU with largest aggregate penalty

When will advertisers learn not to use the broadcast emergency alert signal in an ad? And when will networks realize the Federal Communications Commission is dead serious about the integrity of the EAS system?

A promotional ad for the film Olympus Has Fallen has earned Viacom, ESPN and NBCU the largest aggregate penalty ever imposed by the FCC. Seven Viacom networks, three ESPN networks and seven NBCU networks were fined a combined $1.9 million. Each of the companies admitted running the ad multiple times on multiple networks. Viacom was the biggest offender, airing the ad 108 times times over five days, resulting in a $1.12 million fine.

Blatantly flaunting the signal, the ad even puts up on the screen in white letters on a black background, "This is not a test," furthering potential consumer confusion.

Last November, the FCC slapped TBS with a $25,000 fine for using EAS sounds to promote Conan O'Brien's show.