The FCC has levied fines to several television and radio programs for misusing its Emergency Alert System. Among the television series subjected to fines is a Season 9 episode of The Walking Dead that aired this past February.
In a written release from the Federal Communications Commission, the government agency has cited the Season 9 episode "Omega" for simulating the EAS tone twice during the episode. The FCC prohibits the use of the EAS tone in non-emergency situations outside of testing and for use in public service announcements. AMC has since admitted to the violation and agreed to pay a $104,000 fine while committing to a compliance plan to avoid future violations.
Additional programs that were fined alongside The Walking Dead included Jimmy Kimmel Live! for using the EAS tone in a sketch three times in an October broadcast. Discovery's Animal Planet series Lone Star Law was fined for featuring an episode that included the tone from a secondhand emergency broadcast during filming and included it in the final, edited episode. Additionally, two radio stations were included with the announced fines for using a simulated EAS tone during a broadcast in 2017. All parties have admitted to their respective violations and paid the fines, with ABC paying $395,000 for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! violation.
Programs that use the EAS tones in advertising or broadcast episodes for dramatic, attention-grabbing purposes are subject to fines from the FCC to preserve the identity of the signal and prevent confusion from unauthorized use.
AMC's The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Nadia Hilker, Dan Fogler, Angel Theory, Lauren Ridloff and Eleanor Matsuura. The series returns for its 10th season in October.