A talk show stunt that aired EAS tones on a Las Vegas radio station may cost Beasley Media Group $20,000.
The rules of the Federal Communications are strict: No transmission of false or deceptive emergency alert system tones or EAS simulations are allowed.
But in September 2020, the commission said, Beasley station KDWN(AM) apparently aired them during “The Doug Basham Radio Show,” a paid programming block, in the absence of an emergency, authorized test or qualified PSA.
The tones were also carried on the HD2 signal of KKLZ(FM) and on an FM translator.
According to the FCC, Beasley acknowledged the incident, said the station hadn’t previewed the clip and that “immediately after” transmission, KDWN’s board operator “confronted Basham and informed him that the broadcast was impermissible.” The board op also notified KDWN’s program director.
The commission now has issued a notice of apparent liability. “The prohibition on such transmissions has been in place for many years, and the commission has repeatedly made its requirements clear,” it wrote.
The base forfeiture in such cases is $8,000, but the FCC more than doubled the proposed amount, citing “the number of transmissions at issue, the amount of time over which the transmissions took place, the stations’ sizeable audience reach, and the serious public safety implications of the apparent violations” as well as other factors.
Beasley has 30 days to pay or to respond explaining why it thinks the penalty shouldn’t stand.