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Are You CAP-Compliant?

The answer varies

Stations have about six months to comply with the new version of the Common Alerting Protocol.

A FEMA official told Radio World that it “remains focused on the timely development, testing and fielding of software and systems to support CAP message creation, authentication and aggregation along with development of a training program for alerting officials.”

FEMA and the FCC are working in tandem in the emergency alerting arena. When asked by Radio World how can a station tell if it is compliant with CAP V1.2 and what do broadcasters need to by the end of next March, an FCC spokesman said CAP compliance is now defined by the terms of the CAP V1.2 standard and associated protocols:

“Stations are not CAP-compliant unless they have installed EAS encoder/decoders that can receive a CAP-formatted alert from FEMA per those specifications. Some states or counties have already moved to CAP, and broadcasters in those locations may have already purchased and installed CAP-based encoders/decoders … the question for them is whether this equipment is CAP-compliant per the CAP 1.2 protocols standard adopted by FEMA.”

However, the FCC says most broadcasters and other EAS participants, such as cable companies or wireline video service providers, currently operate in non-CAP states and localities and their encoders/decoders are not CAP-based; by definition, their equipment is not CAP-compliant.

“These EAS participants will either need to modify their current equipment to become CAP compliant (if that is possible; encoders/decoders vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and some are outdated),” the spokesman said. Or, “they will need to purchase and install new CAP 1.2-compliant encoders/decoders.”

Coordination with your EAS equipment manufacturer and local EAS authorities also would appear to be a wise course. What’s your experience at getting answers to your questions? Write to [email protected].