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Forgot to File First Form for National EAS Test?

- Stations Must Prep Now for Aug. 11 Event

With the national EAS test set for Aug. 11, broadcasters should already have filed Form One on the FCC’s online EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). Stations that failed to do so can still catch up and it’s imperative that all Texas broadcasters are prepared because the test will be administered only on the “daisy chain” system, not IPAWS.

TAB’s FCC legal counsel, Scott Flick with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, advises that stations that failed to file Form One on the ETRS by July 6 as required can still do so – and they must because without it they can’t file Forms Two and Three.

The FCC hasn’t been strict about the Form One deadline in the past and allows stations unable to file a complete Form One by the deadline to update it until Aug. 5. That being said, there’s no assurance by the FCC that they won’t penalize stations that don’t comply with the deadlines.

Test Details, Accessibility
The test is scheduled for approximately 1:20PM CDT on Aug. 11. The backup test date is Aug. 25.

It will be sent in English only.  The test message will be transmitted as follows:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency.

If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. No action is required.”

FCC attorney Gregg Skall with Telecommunications Law Professionals notes that pursuant to section 11.51 of the FCC’s rules, EAS participants must ensure that the test is accessible to individuals that are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired.  

In order to comply with this rule, the audio portion of the EAS message must be played in full at least once and television stations must display the EAS text as follows:

  • At the top of the television screen or where it will not interfere with other visual messaging (e.g., closed captioning)
  • In a manner that is readily readable and understandable (i.e., appropriate font size, color, contrast, location, and speed)
  • Without overlapping lines or extending beyond the viewable display (except for video crawls that intentionally scroll on and off the screen), and
  • In full at least once during any EAS message.

The FCC’s public notice reminds broadcasters that station identifying information must be updated and reviewed annually, hence the need for all EAS participant stations to visit the ETRS site and renew station information contained in ETRS Form One. 

The commission has posted the following resources to help stations prepare for the Aug. 11 national EAS test:

  • Link to the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS)
  • ETRS Instructional Video
  • Archived Releases
  • 2021 EAS Handbook

In addition, stations may direct question to the following FCC staff:

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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