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FCC: No Blanket Exemption for CAP Noncompliance

Stations facing equipment delays can ask for a waiver but they must demonstrate ‘good cause’

The compliance picture has become a little clearer for those broadcasters with CAP-EAS equipment on backorder. The FCC reiterated that it expects broadcasters to implement the new Emergency Alert System technology by the June 30 deadline.

“June 30th is the deadline by which EAS participants must have installed operational equipment that will allow them to receive CAP-formatted EAS alerts,” an FCC spokesperson confirmed to Radio World in an email. “There is no blanket exemption for delays in equipment delivery that result in a failure to meet the June 30th deadline.”

CAP, which stands for Common Alerting Protocol, is a new open-standard XML-based format for EAS messages adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

EAS participants can ask for a waiver, however those are not granted automatically, according to the spokesperson. The FCC will evaluate the facts underlying each request on a case-by-case basis to “determine whether or not grant of a waiver is warranted.”

“Under FCC rules, EAS participants that choose to request a waiver have the burden of demonstrating that good cause exists for grant of a waiver,” stated the agency spokesperson.

The FCC extended the CAP deadline twice previously. The commission has noted several times that broadcasters have had the time necessary to obtain and install CAP ready EAS equipment considering those extensions.

However, Radio World wrote last week that broadcasters who delayed in ordering CAP-compliant EAS equipment are facing lengthy shipment delays because of backorders. Several EAS equipment manufacturers and dealers said at the time that it’s possible some of those backorders will not be filled until July or August.