Did you know it’s against the law to replicate the Emergency Broadcast noise? Expensive, too. Jimmy Kimmel Live! was fined $350,000 by the FCC for a monologue about the presidential alert system. Way, way back in October 2018, after it was announced that the president could now send an alert to all Americans’ phones, people understandably freaked out and late-night hosts did their job by making fun of the whole thing — including Kimmel’s monologue, which featured the Emergency Broadcast noise. (That night’s episode also featured a big-budget parody about presidential texts, embedded above, but per ABC, that sketch didn’t trigger the fine.)
The EAS noise is protected to “avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones,” according to the FCC. Kimmel was not the only show fined. The FCC punished The Walking Dead, radio station KDAY, and Animal Planet’s Lone Star Law. The fines totaled over $600,000, with Kimmel forfeiting the most.
* An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified how Jimmy Kimmel Live! used the Emergency Broadcast noise. It was in that night’s monologue, not a sketch.