FCC proposes $272,000 fine against CBS for ‘Young Sheldon’ alleged emergency tone misuse

The Federal Communications Commission continues to crack down on misuse of the Emergency Alert System tone on television.

The government agency has proposed a $272,000 fine against CBS Broadcasting for allegedly airing a simulated emergency alert tone during a nationally televised episode of “Young Sheldon” on April 12, 2018.

The episode “included a sound effect accompanying a tornado warning, which the producers modified, but still audibly resembled actual EAS tones,” said the FCC in a release regarding the proposed fine.

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'Young Sheldon' on CBS
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 10: 'A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels' - Pictured: Sheldon (Iain Armitage). After Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, he gets a paper route to pay for the repairs, on the second season premiere of YOUNG SHELDON, on a special night, Monday, Sept. 24 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 17: YOUNG SHELDON is a new half-hour, single-camera comedy created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, that introduces 'The Big Bang Theory's' Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage), a 9-year-old genius living with his mother (Zoe Perry), father and two siblings in East Texas and going to high school. YOUNG SHELDON will have a special Monday launch behind the season premiere of THE BIG BANG THEORY on Sept. 25 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT). On Nov. 2, YOUNG SHELDON will move to its regular time period, Thursdays (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 17: YOUNG SHELDON is a new half-hour, single-camera comedy created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, that introduces 'The Big Bang Theory's' Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage), a 9-year-old genius living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. YOUNG SHELDON will have a special Monday launch behind the season premiere of THE BIG BANG THEORY on Sept. 25 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT). On Nov. 2, YOUNG SHELDON will move to its regular time period, Thursdays (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 17: YOUNG SHELDON is a new half-hour, single-camera comedy created by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro, that introduces 'The Big Bang Theory's' Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage), a 9-year-old genius living with his family in East Texas and going to high school. YOUNG SHELDON will have a special Monday launch behind the season premiere of THE BIG BANG THEORY on Sept. 25 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT). On Nov. 2, YOUNG SHELDON will move to its regular time period, Thursdays (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 26: 'Pilot' -- Pictured (L-R): Montana Jordan as Georgie, Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon, Lance Barber as George, Sr, Zoe Perry as Mary and Raegan Revord as Missy. 9-year old Sheldon Cooper is a once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science but learns that isn\'t always helpful growing up in East Texas, a land where church and football are king, on the special series debut of the new comedy YOUNG SHELDON, Monday, Sept. 25 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. YOUNG SHELDON moves to Thursdays (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) as of Nov. 2. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 14: 'A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels' - Pictured: Sheldon (Iain Armitage). After Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, he gets a paper route to pay for the repairs, on the second season premiere of YOUNG SHELDON, on a special night, Monday, Sept. 24 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 14: 'A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels' - Pictured: Sheldon (Iain Armitage). After Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, he gets a paper route to pay for the repairs, on the second season premiere of YOUNG SHELDON, on a special night, Monday, Sept. 24 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Bill Inoshita/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 10: 'A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels' - Pictured: Sheldon (Iain Armitage). After Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, he gets a paper route to pay for the repairs, on the second season premiere of YOUNG SHELDON, on a special night, Monday, Sept. 24 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 10: 'A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels' - Pictured: Missy (Raegan Revord). After Sheldon dismantles the refrigerator to stop an annoying hum, he gets a paper route to pay for the repairs, on the second season premiere of YOUNG SHELDON, on a special night, Monday, Sept. 24 (8:31-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
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The agency said that CBS’ modifications to the EAS tones were still not permissible because the tones used in the episode of “Young Sheldon” were “substantially similar” to actual EAS tones. An enforcement advisory from the FCC last month reiterated that broadcasting actual or simulated EAS tones during non-emergencies and outside of testing periods is an FCC violation and “serious public safety concern.”

In August, the FCC reached settlements with ABC, AMC, Discovery and Meruelo Radio Holdings for misusing the Emergency Alert System or Wireless Emergency Alert tones on episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, “The Walking Dead”,” “Lone Star Law,” and KDAY and KDEY-FM’s radio shows, issuing civil penalties collectively totaling more than $600,000.

CBS will be given an opportunity to response to the proposed action, known as a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forefeiture, according to the FCC. The agency will then consider the submission of evident and legal arguments before making any further decisions.

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