ABC "fined" $350k, among others, for using presidential alert tone on TV

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They’re just begging some musician to sample it.


Not a problem. It’s all about “broadcast tv” that goes over FCC regulated airwaves. You can use the tones in a song or a Youtube video, because the FCC does not regulate songs or YouTube videos.

The FCC has a page on what it does not regulate:


Actually, a pretty reasonable rule. Adding to the reasons listed, there may be some equipment at local broadcasters that is automatically triggered by that particular tone.


That’s an obvious shortcoming of the equipment. Crazy insecure.

Reasonable isn’t necessarily constitutional; see the rest of the internet for more.


350k to ABC is like $3.50 to rest of us.

Seems cheap for a Presidential Alert Tone.


Well the president’s not very alert, so it’s clearly one of the cheaper tones.


I’m all for the tone being exclusive so long as it is mandated before broadcasting anything Trump says, so our devices can automatically shut off or change the channel.


but to @simonize 's point…it is reasonable that if a certain thing (in this case a specific sound/tone) is meant for “national emergencies only” then it is reasonable that we don’t want it used all over the place in media…no?

I get you are arguing a constitutional point…but this is where I think the FCC is in the right based on the specifics here. AND…let’s not sit here and act as if a $350k fine for ABC is anything more than you or I buying a cup of coffee.


Exactly what is the National Alert supposed to be used for?

Also, I feel that if Trump is to have an alert tone, it should fit his moral stance.


I think they should use this.

Play it loud at the start of all of his speeches.

And all the way though them, it’s not like we will miss anything of value


But what if the reasonable authority is at the direction of an unreasonable agent ? What if subverting the legal and regulatory authority empowering an unreasonable agency is itself reasonable?

</reasonable libertarian voice>


I’m thinking of making a youtube channel that just has stock footage of American cities from high up enough that you can’t really see what’s happening, overlaid with these sirens and the distant, faintly perceivable sound of thousands of people screaming.


Quick test. Like this but with more ambiguous footage so you can’t see what’s going on in the streets. And looping for hours. So it’s like those “relaxation” videos, but, well, the exact opposite. ULTIMATE ANXIETY 10 HOURS


… and then the alien ships landed - they emerged through the mist, we weren’t prepared… it was over within a day. Now we exist in the Pedway and Lower Lower Wacker Drive, the surface isn’t ours anymore.


Kimmel should have used people screaming an imitation of the tone. That would have been way funnier.

But then, Kimmel’s not very funny anyway. No surprise they didn’t think of it.

But would we have believed Trump even if we could hear him? And are the aliens really worse than him?


I completely understand the perspective you have here. But let’s remember the same perspective of the AR-15/Assault Rifle toting card carrying member of the NRA is “It’s unconstitutional to take my assault rifles from me”.

I get these stances…but yes there needs to be a “reasonable” stance taken. The FCC reserving this “tone” and fining broadcasting networks for using it is not an unreasonable stance; nor can we just scream “SLIPPERY SLOPE” every single time. Guide rails should remain in tact and enforced. And that’s partially on us as the electorate.

I guess my question to you here is…is this the hill you want to die on? Because of all the things that this administration can/has/may do and federal bureaucracies like the FCC can/has/may do…this is not on my personal red flag list. YMMV.

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As near as I can figure, seems like a 30 second ad is about 30k, so this cost about 10-12 minutes of ads. Kimmel makes 10 million a year, so it’s less than two weeks salary. Guillermo makes 500k a year.


Keep in mind that the limited supply of spectrum makes radio and TV inherrently different than newspapers or the internet. There is only so much spectrum to go around. At some level it is akin to government owned grasslands or national forests. Unlike say, your cellphone carrier, the broadcasters do NOT pay a fee to the government to use the spectrum. Rather their licenses are granted under the condition that they operate “In the public interest.” And arguably alerting people to emergencies and providing them information is an important part of the public interest. An emergency is just as likely to occur during Jimmy Kimmel Live as during the evening news. So keeping that attention tone for use ONLY during emergencies is important.