CBS O&O in Trouble over False Alarm

Why TV stations continue to do this is baffling to say the least.

Robert Feder says that CBS’s WBBM in Chicago broadcast emergency warning tones as part of a tease for an upcoming story.

Feder writes that The CBS-owned station aired the Emergency Alert System Attention Signal in the opening of its 5 p.m. newscast Thursday. It was used to tease a story about an Amber Alert child abduction that had been issued — and rescinded — earlier in the day.

Most know that this is a bog no-no and it can also bring a big fine from the FCC. Some stations learn this the hard way.

WBBM GM Derek Dalton acknowledged that the signal was used improperly. “It was a mistake and we have taken the appropriate steps to make sure it does not happen again,” he said.

Dalton would not say whether the part-time producer who was believed to be responsible for the error had been disciplined. He declined further comment on the matter, including whether the FCC had been informed.

Look for the station to get a hefty fine in the months ahead.