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Nationwide EAS test around the corner

 - Mark calendar for Sept. 28 (Oct. 5 is back-up)  

With two weeks to go before the second nationwide EAS test on Sept. 28, broadcasters and other EAS participants should use this time to double and triple check that their systems are ready and make sure whomever is reporting to the FCC is scheduled to do so within just a few hours after the trial run.

The Sept. 28 test will be the first to use the Internet-based Common Alerting Protocol system that was implemented a few years ago.  CAP messaging allows for more information to be distributed with each alert and will be converted into Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) by participating stations.

It also will be the first test since the Emergency Test Reporting System registration deadline on Aug. 26. Stations have until Sept. 26 to edit or correct information originally entered in that system for reporting on the results of the Sept. 28 test which is scheduled for 1:20 Central Time (12:20 Mountain). 

Stations will use ETRS Form Two to report on the results and must file the report by midnight on the day of the test.

FEMA has set an alternate test date of Oct. 5 in case the Sept. 28 date is scrapped by a real emergency or some other issue.

Stations also should already have updated the alert codes in their EAS boxes to recognize the new code for a nationwide EAS alert. On this, the rules require that all EAS participants:

  • Use equipment capable of processing “six zeroes” (000000) as the national location code pertaining to every state and country in the United States; and
  • Use equipment capable of processing a National Periodic Test (NPT) event code for future nationwide EAS tests, including the one scheduled for Sept. 28, 2016.

TAB’s FCC legal counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, has prepared a “To-Do List” for broadcasters to ensure they’re prepared.

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

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