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Gary Timm Leaves Journal

EAS job is new gig

Long-time engineer Gary Timm has a new gig as an engineer for a government contractor working on Emergency Alert System matters.

I reported after the spring NAB Show that Timm planned to retire from Journal Broadcast Group in Milwaukee; he worked at WTMJ(AM) in that city for 37 years.

Timm is now with the Touchstone Consulting Group in Washington, a subsidiary of SRA International, headquartered in Fairfax, Va. SRA has contracted with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide expertise on alert and warning matters; Gary is working with the Touchstone team involved with that work.

His work could include all Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems elements, such as EAS/CAP, and possibly other dissemination technologies. He remains based in Milwaukee, with occasional travel as needed.

I asked Gary if September is still the target for FEMA to adopt the Common Alerting Protocol, the new delivery method for next-gen EAS. That adoption triggers the 180-day shot clock by which stations need to have CAP-compliant EAS encoders/decoders installed.

He said yes but reminded me that many commenters to the FCC in the EAS-CAP proceeding called for moving the trigger to another event and/or to extend the 180 days to up to a year.

He hears the commission is to be issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soon covering all the new rule changes. “We will have to wait and see on all the clock roll details,” he said.

Gary is part of an EAS CAP industry group that includes hardware and software vendors and broadcasters. The group drew up a CAP-to-EAS implementation guide for FEMA. It was written to reduce confusion over how an alert will be presented to the public using CAP-EAS, so that alert originators and distributors can deliver the intended message to the public, regardless of the vendors or platforms involved.

Timm remains on the SBE EAS Committee and he’s still the broadcast chair of the Wisconsin State EAS Committee, for now, until there’s a meeting to decide if the committee would rather have someone who still works in a station in that role, he told me.

I’m glad to see DHS/FEMA taking advantage of the EAS expertise available in the broadcast engineering world. You’ll recall FEMA hired Al Kenyon this spring as a project manager within the Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems Division.