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ABA Tells Members It’s Okay to Air New WEA PSAs

FCC issues one-year waiver so stations can air the spots

The Alabama Broadcasters Association was warning its members not to air new PSAs from the Ad Council because they contain actual EAS tones. However, now the FCC has issued a waiver specifically for the PSAs.

The one-year waiver grants the okay to broadcast and transmit the PSAs which includes a simulated Wireless Emergency Alert Attention Signal2. FEMA asked for the waiver.

The PSAs are called “Wireless Alerts — Sounds of Your Life.” Normally airing live EAS tones is prohibited. However in this case, the Ad Council confirmed to Radio World that FCC says the WEA attention signal in the PSA “does not mislead the listening or viewing public into erroneously concluding that an actual emergency message is being transmitted.”

In an updated memo issued to members late Friday, ABA says “The tone sounds the same as the EAS alert tone, but has a different set of codes. It will not trigger your EAS receiver.”

The new English and Spanish-language PSAs are being distributed as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, an annual effort by FEMA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Hurricane Center to inform the public about hurricane hazards and help citizens prepare and take action.

FEMA and the Ad Council unveiled the ads this week to make the public aware of Wireless Emergency Alerts, the text messages that include a special tone and vibration to alert the public to a crisis. The messages usually include a note to tune to a radio and television station for more detailed information.