After the Sept. 28 test, EAS participants will log into the “Records” tab in ETRS and look in the right-hand corner. The button will read “Update Form 2 and 3” instead of “Update Form 1.” Users will click on that and fill out Form 2. (Form 3 can be filled out at the same time, though all users have until Nov. 14 to fill out Form 3.)
Most U.S. radio stations must register by Friday in the new EAS Test Reporting System. To help managers navigate what has been a somewhat tricky system launch, the Federal Communications Commission has been hosting webinars detailing its ins and outs.
One webinar last week, monitored by Radio World, devoted considerable time to areas that have proven challenging for some users.
The webinars provide guidance on registering and offer a look at the layout and design of the system for industry stakeholders, equipment manufacturers and others who do not have credentials to actually register.
Last week’s webinar was moderated by FCC attorney Austin Randazzo, who has been described by several observers as an accessible and knowledgeable point person in the ETRS database registration process.
Randazzo kicked off the webinar by clarifying who must file and who need not. He then explained exactly what EAS participants are responsible for: first, filing out Form 1, the registration form. Second, after the Sept. 28 scheduled national EAS test, filing out Form 2 before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time by answering two questions with a yes/no: Did you receive the alert? Did you transmit the alert? And finally, filling out Form 3 any time until Nov. 14. The third form will ask for more detailed information about the test, such as what time it came through, whether there were any complications and whether there were duplicate messages from the same EAS source. “This will help us ID problems,” Randazzo said.
For participants who have yet to register, Randazzo’s advice was to have your State EAS plan at the ready along with a strategy for registering. This means “having a list of the stations you need to file for, and deciding which entity [you] want to file,” he said. “You’ll need your FRN (FCC registration number) when you register, and [to be clear on] which licensee is going to register.”
“If you have one station, it’s easy,” he said. But for entities with multiple stations, the process can seem a little daunting, he said. Randazzo said that an entity with multiple stations can register under one FRN and then file all those station under one ETRS account. But what if you have multiple stations and multiple FRNs? Then a separate account should be created for each licensee. What if you represent multiple stations owned by a much-larger parent company? Randazzo said users can register using info from the parent and then file for all of those stations under that account. “Let your FRN be your guide.”
(What if you don’t know your FRN? Head to the FCC CORES registration database to look for your password, or call 877-480-3201.)
The webinar clarified steps to take when working as an inputter entering data for a single station, or as a coordinator, the only type of filer allowed to do batch filings. The latter requires additional privileges; send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be confirmed as a coordinator. “We will process and set you up,” Randazzo said. Then Excel file will be sent over which should be used during batch filing.
Once you’re ready to begin entering registration info in earnest, users should enter all the requested data in Form 1, which includes information such as the type of station, the city of license and who is the actual owner of the EAS participant.
The webinar also touched on sticky areas that have frustrated some participants, such as the field that asks for a station’s transmitter location. The FCC has updated this field to allow users to click on a drop-down menu to find and add a new geographic zone of service. How to find the correct geographic zone of service? Take a look at your station’s State EAS Plan. “It’s going to match your operational areas [that are listed] in your state plan,” Randazzo said. “Go to your State EAS Plan. It provides guidance on EAS designation and monitoring assignments.”
Watch out: Some State EAS Plans list their geographic zones as a region; others list zones as only numbers.
Randazzo stressed that registrants take a close look at their EAS monitoring assignments. Each station is required to monitor at least two stations; these assignments can be found in the State EAS Plans for each station, Randazzo said. This is important because it allows the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see how an alert propagates.
However, some participants may struggle with actually being able to monitor the required sources that are laid out in their EAS plan. Stations interested in a waiver should contact their State Emergency Coordination Committee to ask about a different monitoring assignment. Then a formal waiver request can be filed with the FCC.
“If you cannot effectively monitor that signal and you want to monitor someone else, you can file a waiver request with the FCC,” Randazzo said. “We’ll look at [whether a different assignment] would be better, and we will rule on that waiver request promptly.”
Once a waiver is received, users should log back into the system and indicate on the Form 1 that their station has been granted a waiver.
One of the most important items for all EAS participants comes on the actual day of the test. After the test at 2:20 pm Eastern on Sept. 28, users must go into ETRS and click on the tab “Records,” then click on “EAS Test Records.” In the right hand corner, a button will appear that says “Update Form 2.” Click this to answer the two required questions. Form 3 can also be filled out at the same time.
Randazzo invited questions from ETRS registrants. His email is listed below.
To discover a lost FRN number: 877-480-3201
To request access to become a coordinator within ETRS: email@example.com
For basic questions: Email Austin Randazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To request a waiver: Mail a hard copy to the address below, and email an electronic copy to the email address listed.
Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554