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FCC ETRS Form One Due Next Week

The upcoming national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is happening more than a month earlier than usual and that means there is an important Federal Communications Commission EAS compliance deadline for all broadcasters to meet next week.

All EAS participants must complete their 2019 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One by Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

The FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have scheduled a nationwide test of EAS on Aug. 7 at 1:20 pm CDT.  Should severe weather or another serious emergency preclude a nationwide test that day, a back-up date of Aug. 21 has been set.

ETRS is now open for the 2019 EAS nationwide test filing period. 
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TAB Associate member law firm Fletcher Heald and Hildreth said that as in the two previous nationwide tests, “EAS participants must renew their identifying information on a participant’s location, their EAS equipment and monitoring assignments, and contact information for EAS purposes.” 

A separate Form One must be filed by a broadcast station for each EAS endec.   

“The forms can be submitted on a station-by-station basis or on a batch filing basis for certain commonly-owned stations.” 

Filing ETRS Form Two and Form Three
ETRS Form Two, which records the “day of test” information, must be filed by 10:59 CDT on Aug. 7.

That happens to be the opening day of TAB’s Annual Convention and Tradeshow.

Station staff attending the TAB convention should plan now for the filing of ETRS Form Two.

In years past, ETRS Form Two has been a simple online filing at the FCC’s ETRS page consisting of a few basic questions such as was the test received and was the test relayed?

Those staying behind at the station can easily file ETRS Form Two, or, collect the basic information needed to file Form Two for use by the staff attending TAB convention.

TAB is arranging an area onsite to encourage filing of ETRS Form Two for those interested.

Post test data will be recorded on ETRS Form Three, which must be filed on or before Sept. 23.

Preparing for the 2019 National Test
The upcoming nationwide EAS event will specifically test the broadcast station daisy chain method of delivery.

Unlike the previous two nationwide EAS tests, this year’s event will not use IPAWS, the nation’s Internet-based system of alert delivery.  

TAB cautions stations to review the Texas State EAS Plan to double-check what EAS local primary stations local broadcasters should be monitoring for EAS Required Monthly and Required Weekly tests (RMT and RWT).

“Make sure that you have been receiving and logging (in your station EAS log) weekly and monthly tests as required by the FCC rules,” said David Oxenford, an attorney with TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

The July RMT is the next opportunity for stations to check their receipt of a statewide EAS alert via the daisy-chain method of delivery.

It takes place on Tuesday, July 9, between 11 am and 1 pm.

“If you have not been receiving these tests, that likely indicates problems either with your receivers or with the stations that you are monitoring – so find out the reasons for missing tests now and take any corrective actions (as you are required to by the rules).”

If a station has difficulty monitoring a local primary assignment due to interference or other strength of signal issues, an FCC waiver to monitor an alternate EAS source can be sought.

The procedure to acquire an EAS monitoring assignment waiver is spelled out in Appendix H of the Texas State EAS Plan on page 41.

The process usually takes several months after the initial written communication with the FCC takes place.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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