Pathfinder to Pay $46,000 for Alerting Misstep

Licensee of WTRC(FM), commission reach agreement to end the case
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In contrast to a citation issued to a non-FCC licensee for misusing EAS tones, an FM station in Niles, Mich., has agreed to pay a big penalty for the same violation. This is part of a rash of EAS-related enforcement action from the commission this week.

“As many complaints about EAS abuse have noted, misuse of the tones creates a ‘Cry Wolf’ scenario, which risks desensitizing the public to the significance of the tones in a real emergency,” stated Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc in his order.

The case involving WTRC(FM) in Michigan involves misuse of EAS tones. In an agreement reached between licensee Pathfinder Communications Corporation and the Enforcement Bureau, Pathfinder will pay a $46,000 civil penalty to the U.S. government.

An employee of the National Weather Service complained to the agency that the station aired an ad in April 2014 promoting a storm chasing tour and including the tones. The NWS received several calls from the public, noting this type of advertising defeats and minimizes the importance of EAS, according to the account.

Pathfinder admitted the station aired an ad that contained the EAS tones and will implement a compliance plan. In exchange, the FCC ends the investigation.

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