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FEMA, FCC Announce Oct. 4 Nationwide EAS Test; No Oct. Texas RMT

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission have scheduled a Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test for Oct. 4, 2023.  

A backup date of Oct. 11 was also announced in the event of a real or threatened event occurring on or near Oct. 4.

In its Aug. 3 public notice, the FCC said the test will be disseminated using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message.  

FEMA will send the test at 1:20 pm CDT on Oct. 4 in in English and Spanish under the EAS NPT code.

By now, most broadcasters should have already filed the online Emergency Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form 1 for each licensed station.

It is something of an annual update to the FCC of a station’s EAS equipment information.

If your station hasn’t done so, you are urged to do so immediately.

Attorney David Oxenford with TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer said there is a Sept. 15 ETRS deadline for “updates that result from station sales, moves, or other changes since Form One was filed.”

All EAS participants must file ETRS Form 2, the day of test report, after the test has concluded but before Oct. 5.

A final report, ETRS Form 3 must be filed no later than Nov.20.

Stations can access ETRS at  

Broadcasters should prepare now

“Broadcasters should be using this time to make sure that all of their EAS systems are ready and fully operational so that they can relay any emergency message, real or a test, that comes their way,” said Oxenford.

He points out that the FCC’s public notice contains a number of steps recommended by the FCC to prepare for the test.

While they may seem somewhat obvious, Oxenford said “they should still be reviewed by broadcasters to make sure that they have not overlooked anything that can enhance their preparation for the test.”

Among the FCC’s recommendations:

  • Review the station’s role in the Texas State EAS Plan
  • Confirm the station ENDEC is operational and software is current
  • Confirm the EAS clock on station EAS equipment is synchronized with the official time used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology which is used by the IPAWS system
  • Confirm the station has an accessible and current FCC EAS Handbook 
  • Review the handbook for instructions on the operation of the EAS system 

Effect of National EAS Test on October Texas RMT and RWT

Broadcasters have been speculating about whether or when a Nationwide EAS Test would occur this year.  

Staff at the Required Monthly Test (RMT) originating stations WBAP-AM DFW and KTRH-AM Houston, in concert with the Texas State Networks (TSN) and TAB, generated the 2023 Texas RMT schedule last fall.

It calls for an October Texas EAS RMT on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the day before the scheduled Nationwide EAS Test.

The FCC’s EAS rules say a Nationwide EAS Test “shall” replace the RMT and RWT.  

Accordingly, there will be no October Texas EAS RMT, nor should stations issue an RWT during that first week in October either.

Until then, stations should take a keen interest in the Texas State EAS RMT to ascertain their operational capabilities.

Did your station receive this week’s August EAS RMT on Tuesday, Aug. 8, between 4:45 and 6:45 am?

You’ll have another chance at an RMT before the October Nationwide EAS Test.

The September EAS RMT is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 5, between 11 am and 1 pm.

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

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