First Coast News discovers the $18,333 beep

A thirty-second advertisement that ran for four days, between August 6th and August 9th, has led Jacksonville television station WTLV, First Coast News, to pay a $55,000 fine, according to a consent decree obtained from the Federal Communications Commission by Historic City News this week.

At issue was the use of three alert tones in a Jacksonville Jaguars advertisement that were like those used by broadcasters in Florida as part of the Emergency Alert System; a national warning system in the United States put into place on January 1, 1997.

The official Emergency Alert System is designed to enable the President of the United States to speak to the United States within 10 minutes, and to alert the public of local weather emergencies such as tornadoes and flash floods, and in some cases severe thunderstorms depending on the severity of the storm.

After an investigation into a complaint about a Jacksonville Jaguars advertisement announcing, “this is not a test”, while defensive end Dante Fowler performed a pass rushing drill, the FCC found that WTLV used the well-known alert tones when there had been no actual emergency or authorized test of the System.

The Emergency Alert System regulations and standards are governed by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC. Emergency Alert System is part of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a program of FEMA.

Tegna Inc., the parent company of First Coast News, agreed to implement a compliance plan and pay a $55,000 civil penalty, according to the consent decree.