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Group Thinks Goals for Nationwide EAN Test Unclear

‘Live code tests must be evaluated on not just whether the message is distributed, but what it looks like and sounds like on the air’

An EAS interest group that includes several SECC and state broadcast association officials thinks the FCC needs to describe more thoroughly its goals for the first-ever live national EAS test to be conducted later this year.

This and other suggestions are in a partial petition for reconsideration filed by the Broadcast Warning Working Group, responding to the FCC’s recently adopted EAS order allowing for a national test of the Emergency Activation Notification live code.

“To the BWWG, ‘outreach’ not only means telling a diverse public a test will happen, but also informs that public what the test is all about,” the group wrote.

“In this case, like it or not, it will be a test of the federal government’s last-ditch way to reach the public when other more normal, traditional and routine methods are not up and running,” it states in the filing.

The organization also is concerned that Common Alerting Protocol-enhanced EAS will not be in place for a sufficient amount of time so the national EAS test can be used to assess its effectiveness according to the FCC’s proposed timeline.

“Testing with the CAP just barely in place could do more harm than good to the overall perception of EAS effectiveness on the heels of what is being presented as a major EAS upgrade,” it states.

The group includes representatives from the Nevada, Washington state and California SECCs as well as the Texas and Maine state broadcast associations.