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EAS Manufacturers Still Working on Those FCC Updates

Stations are required to install new software by Dec. 12, 2023

EAS equipment manufacturers are finalizing software updates this summer so U.S. radio stations can bring their boxes up to date to comply with new FCC rules by the December deadline.

You’ll recall that the commission last year released an order culminating a process intended to bring more consistency to alerting and maximize the effectiveness of the public warning system. The changes include prioritized CAP polling, changes in the text for the EAN (Presidential) event code and a new script for the National Periodic Test or NPT.

Those adopted changes affect the programming of EAS decoders. Radio stations are required to install updated software by Dec. 12, 2023, but so far those updates are unavailable from the manufacturers of the most popular devices.

Broadcasters will have to budget for these new software versions in many cases, unless they already pay a yearly subscription fee for updates.

Radio World checked in with several manufacturers.

Sage Alerting Systems says it will release its software update for its Sage ENDEC (version 96.00) in late summer. “We had optimistically thought we’d release at the end of June, but is it now expected later in the summer,” said President Harold Price. “We’ll send out an email blast when it is ready. The list price for the update is $159 and is sold through our distributors.”

Price says customers who had purchased new from dealer stock prior to Dec. 12, 2021, will receive the Rev96 update at no charge and will not need to place an order.

Sage customers can pre-purchase the new version through their equipment vendor, Price said. You’ll need the unit’s serial number.

Gorman-Redlich will charge $150 to download the latest update to be compliant. The update will be for anyone running a version of the CAP program V2.76.3 or later, according to the company. It is expected to be available in August and will be updated via Teamviewer version 12, according to President Jim Gorman.

“I find that some customers are still running versions from 10 years ago and have never updated to read the digital signature on the FEMA messages that have been required for a few years now,” he said.

Gorman says this will be a good opportunity for customers to make sure they are running the most updated versions of EAS software and remain compliant. “We install updates over the internet so that the CAP unit need not be sent in to us.”

Digital Alert Systems will make a V5.2 software update available for its DASDEC units by mid-summer, including the features to comply with the revised EAS rules.

Ed Czarnecki, VP of global and government affairs, said in an email: “Version 5.2 will be free to all Digital Alert Systems customers who are currently operating V5.0 or V5.1, and also free for those enrolled in the company’s Software Assurance Plan, who have purchased a new DASDEC or who recently took advantage of the Up-Trade program.”

Costs for other DASDEC users will depend on the version they are running, age and hardware version of  their current system, Czarnecki said.