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Weekly Tech Reminders: ATSC 3.0, NPT & More

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes

The following is from the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to ABA’s Larry Wilkins. To subscribe to the newsletter, email[email protected].


Next Gen TV (ATSC 3.0) has moved another step forward in becoming a reality. The FCC announced that the Office of Management and Budget has signed off on the rules, effective July 17. As a result, the Media Bureau is in the process of making changes to its Licensing and Management System to accommodate ATSC 3.0 license applications, and that completion of such changes is expected to begin in early 2019. The bureau is not yet accepting applications for ATSC 3.0 licenses, but it will issue a public notice announcing when it will start accepting applications for such licenses.


The Federal Emergency Management Association has announced that a National EAS test will be sent on Thursday Sept. 20. There is a different “twist” to this test from the two previous tests. At 2:18 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), FEMA will send a Wireless Emergency Alert test message to all WEA capable wireless devices throughout the entire United States and territories.

Immediately following the WEA nationwide end-to-end test, at 2:20 p.m. EDT, FEMA will conduct a live test of the Emergency Alerting System. All EAS Participants are required to participate in this nationwide test. The EAS message will be disseminated via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

Stations are encouraged to verify that their EAS units are communicating correctly with the IPAWS server. Review your Station Logs (which should be checked once each week by the chief operator) to ascertain that you are receiving the Required Weekly Test from IPAWS. This RWT is fed every Monday at 11 a.m. local time.

Contact your equipment representative for details on setting up your EAS equipment to properly receive and relay the National test.

EAS participants are reminded that they are required to register with the EAS Test Reporting System and must complete the filing of ETRS Form One on or before Aug. 27.

Then on or before 11:59 p.m. (EDT), Sept. 20, EAS participants must file the “day of test” information sought by ETRS Form Two. On or before Nov. 5, EAS participants must file the detailed post-test data sought by ETRS Form Three.

Filers can access ETRS by visiting the ETRS page of the commission’s website. Instructional videos regarding registration and completion of the ETRS Forms are available on the ETRS page.

The Alabama SECC maintains a monitoring service for EAS units around the state. At present we are monitoring 135 different EAS units. While this doesn’t take the place of your legal responsibility of maintaining a Station Log, it does offer a “second set of eyes” watching the proper technical operation of your EAS equipment.


Secure Sockets Layer certificates, sometimes called digital certificates, are used to establish an encrypted connection between a browser or user’s computer and a server or website. The SSL connection protects sensitive data, such as credit card information, exchanged during each visit, which is called a session, from being intercepted from non-authorized parties.

Invisible to the end-user, a process called the “SSL handshake” creates a secure connection between a web server and a browser.

Want to see how it works? Visit this YouTube page.