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‘The FCC Plan Makes Sense’

A move to text alerts, one engineer says, simply reflects reality

The FCC plan makes sense (“Feds and Wireless Carriers Launch Mobile EAS in New York”). I have no issue with getting the broadcaster off the point of being a “doorbell alert” in favor of text alerts via cellphones and other wireless devices.

For example, I was at the NAB Show last month. In a convention hall filled with broadcasters, every one had a cellphone, text device, iPad, laptop or notebook; no one had a radio or TV tuned to a broadcast signal. The only alerts they would get are via text.

It appears to me text devices have reached 85% saturation as a device within arm’s reach of the person 24×7.

This morning, as I was boarding a train into Chicago, I watched six out of 10 riders working their text devices while the train was pulling in. No one was listening to an iPod or radio.

The public has left the broadcast arena. Broadcast is old-school and the below-40 crowd has left. Broadcasters fit into the equation not as the source of the alert but of the long-form followup information. They are no longer the doorbell; the mission has changed.

If the infrastructure fails, the smart public will migrate to the broadcast source; the rest will win the Darwin Award.

Warren Shulz
Chief Engineer
WLS(AM/FM)
Chicago

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