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Another National EAS Test Likely, But Not This Year

IPAWS working with third-party developers to distribute EAS alerts

As the June 30 deadline for broadcasters to have Common Alerting Protocol-compliant EAS gear operational at their stations approaches, federal regulators speaking at the recent NAB Show indicated that the deadline will probably not be extended again.

Other EAS news from the show gleaned from a post by Gary Timm on the Alerts, Warnings & Response to Emergencies blog — there will likely be a follow-up to the national test, but not in 2012. FEMA’s Antwane Johnson said it would make sense to have all the data in and analyzed before scheduling another national test.

The FCC is trying to decide what to do about stations that didn’t send in their results about the Nov. 9 test. Tom Beers of the Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau said enforcement action is one of the possibilities.

However it may not get that far. Members of the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations who attended the session offered to work with state broadcast associations to get responses from stations that haven’t turned in their test results to do so.

To check if the commission did get a station’s results, Beers recommended contacting [email protected].

Timm also noted the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System is working with third-party developers like Google, Pandora and AOL, to distribute IPAWS EAS alerts and discussed what several vendors were showing on the exhibit floor, including the ability of AM stations to use HD Radio technology to transmit text alerts to newer receivers. We had reported this technology was possible a while ago, and now experiments have been completed with some 324-character messages.