Communicators, Not Communicating
recent articles in Radio World have made reference to the challenges
of EAS, CAP and alerting in general.
reader, a former state emergency communications official, wrote to
explain some of his frustrations. I thought I’d share it. He
started with the topic of cellular alerts:
iPhone went off again this morning with an EAS message warning about
flash flooding. Try as I may, I still can’t discover who is sending
these alerts,” he began.
get me wrong; I’m glad someone is making progress in the cellular
EAS department. I just think it’s odd that no one at our state’s
office of emergency management or the state broadcast association has
a clue who is actually making the NWS-AT&T interface and ‘pushing
the button,’” he wrote.
was not surprised when I read a question in one of the tech columns
in the newspaper about how to disable the smartphone alerts,
specifically, the Amber Alerts. I’m embarrassed to admit that I
didn’t even know that my iPhone 4S had that option in the Settings
menu! It must have been quietly added in an upgrade.
borne the brunt of more than a few irate phone calls from state
residents who ‘don’t want to be warned,’ I think it’s ironic
that some members of the public don’t want to be disturbed by Amber
Alerts or flood warnings, yet if you don’t warn them,
they’re the ones who are the first to get ‘lawyered up’ and go
after the state for not informing them!”
then moved on to a related topic that is perhaps more directly
relevant to our readers. (Remember, this is a former state emergency
communications official, someone familiar with the interaction of
broadcasting and government.)
you asked me about state-level integration of CAP servers. I can’t
tell you very much about CAP servers because FEMA/DHS never gave me
or the state SECC any information to begin with!
after an EAS equipment vendor installed special EAS receivers that
were supposed to work through the PBS satellite, FEMA held a national
test. The equipment was certified, and then almost immediately
forgotten. Periodically, some Beltway Bandits came around to survey
and inventory the equipment, but it was never used again. The local
broadcasters and I kept hearing about these so-called ‘CAP servers’
that each state OEM was obliged to install, but absolutely no
information came to either of us as to what it was or how it was
supposed to be implemented,” he continued.
often than not, communications people are the worst communicators.
FEMA is such a massive, burdensome organization that they can’t
respond to even the smallest of issues. Putting out something as
simple as an informational packet about CAP, or hosting a mandatory
videoconference for us to watch proved to be too difficult for them.
I am now officially out of the loop, I have to say that, speaking
solely for myself, I still have no clue what it is, how it’s
supposed to work, what each state’s responsibility is, or how much
cost outlay is involved. How was I expected to go to my chain of
command with so nebulous a plan?”
comments from someone you’d expect to be well informed about a
state’s alerting infrastructure. If nothing else, he reinforces for
me a sense that in certain jurisdictions, not all “hands” are
aware of what other hands are doing. Are his comments fair? Share
your own thoughts about state-level integration of new alerting
tools. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for implementing
a couple of great ideas to help develop engineering talent, a common
topic on this page.
The Electrical Engineering Co-op Program, which completed its third
year, gives a dozen engineering college students a chance to learn in
and work at Clear Channel stations, alternating semesters in the
program and then returning to school. Two will earn $5,000
separate, new Market Engineering Manager Development Program is
described as an “elite internal engineering development program.”
It is a two-year gig that includes a personalized curriculum,
one-on-one coaching, education and testing. First-year graduates
include David Grice, Chris Abbott, Andy Mika and Jake Wyatt. The
newest class will, among other things, work in Cincinnati to help
build a studio at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in partnership
with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
a company announcement, Jeff Littlejohn, executive vice president of
engineering and systems integration, said the company “is making a
strategic investment in the future of broadcasting engineering,”
and hopes these programs will help attract new engineers while
nourishing current ones.