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First Nationwide EAS Test Is Today

How satellite TV will handle the test is a curiosity to broadcasters

Federal regulators, station engineers and state broadcast associations are focused on today’s national EAS test.

It comes just after an election day. Maine Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Suzanne Goucher tells me there were three hotly-contested referendum questions on the ballot in Maine, and that EAS PSAs have been competing for airtime with issue ads for several weeks.

Radio, television, satellite radio, satellite television, cable and wireline video providers are taking part in the test.

Judging by SBE EAS listserv chatter, Goucher says, it will be interesting to see how satellite TV will handle the test because apparently it doesn’t normally do EAS tests. Engineers and others are asking whether satellite TV systems will “force tune” to a blue screen. Goucher says a few MAB members are recording signals off satellite TV to see what happens.

In radio, Greater Media VP Engineering Milford Smith says the company’s stations had already replaced its encoder/decoders with new CAP-compliant boxes (though, as we’re reported, this is a test of the legacy EAS, not CAP).

“I have distributed all manner of informative materials to the locations and requested that they all double check things like ensuring clear reception of all input sources, making sure all levels are properly set and putting the ‘special’ EAS handbook in all air studios,” said Smith.

Preparation has also included talking with all operators who will be running the test and having engineers immediately available at the time of the test, he said. All Greater Media locations have filled out the FCC’s “Form 1” and are prepared to complete “Form 2” today and “Form 3” shortly thereafter.

FEMA IPAWS Program Manager Manny Centeno this morning said regulators are looking forward to today’s test and are happy to see that EAS participants “are excited and engaged.”