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FCC Releases 2021 Nationwide EAS Test Report

The FCC has released its report on the Aug, 11, 2021 nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The 2021 nationwide test was meant to ascertain the strength of the broadcast daisy-chain method of EAS test delivery.

Somewhat surprisingly, the 2021 test reached more EAS participants than the 2019 IPAWS-based test, 89.3 percent in 2021 compared to 82.5 percent in 2019. 

There was no national test of EAS in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Test result reporting, however, was down from 2019. 

The FCC said only 75.3 percent of participants reported their results in 2021 compared to 78.6 percent in 2019. 

Nationally, radio broadcasters had a higher rate of test reporting than their television counterparts. 

David Oxenford, an attorney with TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer said “the FCC noted that ensuring, for future tests, increased compliance with the mandatory reporting requirement will be a priority.”

Of the Texas participants that reported to the FCC, 37 said they did not receive the alert and explained that this failure was due to monitoring source issues. 

The state with the highest number of participants that did not receive the test was Illinois, with 165.  The FCC concluded that the 2021 nationwide EAS test demonstrated an improvement from 2019.  “Receipt and retransmission rates increased, while reported monitored source complications markedly decreased.  As observed in 2019, the system would largely perform as designed, and it would reach the vast majority of the public, if activated without the availability of the Internet.”

The commission’s Homeland Security Bureau said it would “continue to work with FEMA, EAS Participants, and other EAS stakeholders to improve the system and ensure that it remains effective and can transmit timely and accurate national alerts to the public when they are needed the most.” 

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

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