Tegna Station Fined Over $50,000 for Promo

Back last August, FTVLive FIRST told you that Tegna owned WTLV in Jacksonville used the Emergency Alert System tones in a station promo. 

We posted the video and wrote, "We always thought there were serious laws about using EAS notifications in commercials."

Well, the FCC kind of agreed with FTVLive and just handed down a $55,000 to the Tegna station. 

The Florida Times Union writes, The Enforcement Bureau for the Federal Communications Commission reached a settlement agreement with WTLV TV-12 and Tegna Inc. for using the emergency tones. 

WTLV station manager Rob Mennie declined comment when contacted Tuesday by email.

But, guess who did comment to the paper? 

The Times Union writes, Scott Jones, founder of FTVLive.com, a TV news industry monitoring website, took note of the EAS usage by WTLV last August when the promotions were airing and wondered on his website, based in Clay County, if there’d be repercussion.

“I’m not at all surprised that they got fined,” Jones said in a telephone interview Monday. “I’m a little surprised that the fine wasn’t higher than that.”

At the time of the airing of the promotions on WTLV, Jones, who used to work in TV news, said there was an immediate buzz on the internet when the EAS audio was used in a promotion for football.

“For me, as a former news director, I can’t believe a station would sign off on something like this, especially smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season in Florida. It’s ridiculous,” Jones said.

Given the backlash to the use of the EAS tones, Jones said it was only a matter of time before a complaint was filed with the FCC.

“I had a number of people who alerted me to it, pardon the pun. I actually had two viewers who told me about it. It wasn’t just people in the industry, it was viewers as well. Personally, I think Tegna and WTLV got off cheap. It’s a slap on the wrist,” Jones said.

The FCC was happy that FTVLive was able upload the video for them to see it and investigate the matter. We're sure Tegna was not as happy we did so. 


Here is the promo if you did not see it: