Folks Are Still Curious About Bobby Bones's Infamous Fine Nearly 10 Years Later

Nearly 10 years ago, Bobby Bones got fined after an infamous episode of his radio show. Here's what happened.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Feb. 27 2024, Published 11:16 a.m. ET

Bobby Bones in 2023
Source: Getty Images

When it comes to music, radio, and television in the United States, folks have most certainly had brushes with Bobby Bones. Though he is best known for his eponymous radio show, The Bobby Bones Show, the American celebrity served as a full-time vocal coach on American Idol for four years up until Season 20 in 2022. He even won Season 27 of Dancing With the Stars alongside dancing partner Sharna Burgess. He's got the moves, the voice, and the experience to be an entertainment icon.

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Bobby has also made headlines for other outlandish reasons. During Donald Trump's 2016 highly polarizing presidential campaign, Bobby essentially held Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan hostage after Trump failed to apply for the trademark, asking the then-candidate to donate a large sum of money to philanthropic causes.

Before that, however, Bobby was made to pay a hefty fine after accidentally causing a bit of a panic. Why was Bobby Bones fined? The incident took place in 2014.

Bobby Bones
Source: Getty Images
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Bobby Bones was fined a hefty sum after an incident in 2014.

In an October 2014 episode of his radio show, Bobby featured a rant about an erroneous Emergency Alert System (EAS) test that had interrupted the World Series baseball game that year. In order to punctuate his point, he played actual EAS tones regularly during this broadcast.

These tones, however, accidentally caused a glitch that impacted thousands of listeners throughout the United States.

At the time, it was reported that the unofficial EAS tones on Bobby's show had triggered actual emergency response systems on AT&T and U-verse mobile devices and even televisions in several states. Customers were urged not to make phone calls to clear phone lines for emergency use, and television broadcasts even stated, "The station has interrupted its regular programming at the request of the White House to participate in the Emergency Alert System."

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Bobby's radio station immediately addressed the situation, confirming that these messages were issued under misleading pretenses. Still, phones and televisions had essentially been locked up at the time due to Bobby's broadcast. Naturally, an accident of this proportion would result in some consequences.

Bobby Bones at the iHeartRadio 2023 Festival
Source: Getty Images
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Later in May 2015, Bobby's employers at iHeartMedia were made to pay an FCC fine of $1 million following the incident. Furthermore, all EAS-related sound effects were removed from iHeartRadio's sound library in order to prevent this sort of occurrence in the future.

As for Bobby Bones himself, he certainly seems none the worse for wear since his broadcast snafu. The Bobby Bones Show remains in ongoing syndication to this day and he still remains a beloved and influential figure in the world of entertainment. He's even previously taken over for Ryan Seacrest on American Idol while the long-running host was recovering from illness.

Still, Bobby Bones has certainly been the subject of some of the most bizarre national stories of the past decade.

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