A video package played before a game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles on Fox TV network in 2021 violated Federal Communications Commission rules, says the FCC. File Photo by Laurence Kesterson/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A video promotion aired before a game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles on the Fox TV network in 2021 violated federal rules about mimicking an emergency alert, the FCC said Tuesday in proposing a $504,000 fine.
Prior to kickoff on Nov. 28, 2021, Fox Broadcasting Co. aired a video package that included the emergency alert system tone and mimicked an emergency broadcast. Sounding or simulating an EAS alert in the absence of an actual emergency is prohibited.
The FCC proposed a $504,000 fine for Fox in a notice released Tuesday.
Only federal, state and local emergency agencies are permitted to issue an EAS tone.
The FCC enforces a strict EAS tone rule out of concern over what it calls "alert fatigue."
"The Commission has warned that the use of simulated or actual EAS Tones for non-authorized purposes -- such as commercial or entertainment purposes -- can lead to "alert fatigue," whereby the public becomes desensitized to the alerts, questioning or simply disregarding whether a particular alert is intended to warn about a real, imminent threat or some other cause," the FCC said in its notice.
Sounding an unauthorized EAS tone also may inadvertently activate emergency systems, be used to spread misinformation or "lock out" an actual emergency broadcast.
The video in question opened with grainy video of Eagles players running onto the field with a text scroll and voiceover issuing a "warning" to the team's division rivals New York, Dallas and Washington. In the lower-third, the screen read "THIS IS A FOX EMERGENCY ALERT!"
Philadelphia lost 13-7 to New York in that game and finished 9-8 on the season.
The video package was broadcast to 18 stations owned and operated by Fox. The FCC determined this constitutes a base forfeiture of $144,000. It adjusted the fine upward because of Fox's culpability and the purpose of the video being for economic gain at the expense of the "integrity of the EAS."