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TAB urges FCC to end cable override of EAS messages

The FCC should take immediate measures to prohibit cable operators from blocking their subscribers’ access to local TV broadcasters’ emergency warnings, TAB urged in comments filed with the agency in its ongoing review of the first nationwide EAS test.

“This ongoing, irresponsible practice by cable systems endangers lives of citizens and first responders alike, and it’s imperative that regulators compel them to cease if common sense does not,” said TAB President Oscar Rodriguez.

Cable systems sometimes block their subscribers’ access to TV broadcasters’ detailed and updated emergency warnings with generic statements that provide little, if any, helpful information, despite the fact that local TV stations invest millions of dollars in emergency warnings, including captioning of the programming for the hearing impaired.

“This practice prejudices the very class of viewer that Congress and the FCC have specifically sought to protect,” Rodriguez said.

The comments, joined by 46 other state broadcast associations, also urged the Commission not to follow a one-size-fits-all approach as it seeks to further improve EAS but, rather, to follow a path of flexibility relating to the presentation of text and audio that reflects the vast number of configurations in station plants and equipment.

The full comments filed Nov. 19 can be read here.

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

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