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Start the Clock!

Delaying the CAP-compliant EAS equipment and deployment could cost lives.

In the online story “Most Broadcasters, Manufacturers Support Extending EAS-CAP Deadline,” RW reported:

“The National Association of Broadcasters said the ‘overwhelming majority’ of those who filed agree with the need for extension for several reasons: ‘FEMA may not announce the final details of the CAP standards until close to its publication of those standards in September 2010. Vendors will need sufficient time to incorporate those details into their software products before design of the products can be finalized.’”

But also: “Sage Alerting Systems … maintains that its equipment now on the market can handle the CAP protocol and says there’s no need to delay the deadline.”

Delaying the clock start on CAP-compliant EAS equipment and deployment could cost lives.

NAB has only the interest of its patrons on its political agenda. It is a lobby for the broadcast industry. The NAB’s goals are not necessarily in the general public’s interest, convenience, necessity and safety. Stalling tactics are not on the side of the rest of us.

The problems of ramp-up on EAS CAP-compliant instrumentation will be no different from what they were several years ago. I speak from the experience of having worked with Sage to supply more of the original EAS units to stations and cable systems than all of the other suppliers, combined.

Supply chain problems today are no different than they will be six to 12 months from now. Manufacturers will scramble to make deadlines work. There will be hiccups. Nobody is sitting (or will sit) on thousands of units to fill a sometimes arbitrary deadline. It’s not good business. They won’t be sitting on them in six to 12 months, either.

The vagaries of the orders, deliveries and backorders will not be unique. We’ll all make it. It’s time to look out for the life, limb and property of the general public.

The most advanced emergency warnings delayed are the most advanced warnings denied. Public safety should never be wagged by the tail of cash flow but by an obligation broadcasters and others have to protect and serve. Let’s get on with the safety of our listeners, viewers and advertisers. They’re the way we make a living. Start the clock!

For that same reason, make sure your staff and your local emergency management people become good friends now, with full contact information, to be ready when that emergency happens in your served area. I’d not want to be a broadcaster having to face my listeners and my advertisers in the aftermath of an unreported, deadly emergency.

Dave Burns
Richmond, Ind.