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MMTC Still Waiting for Multilingual EAS

Honig urges radio to develop ‘designated hitter’ station plan

The Commercial Mobile Alert System was used before, during and after Hurricane Sandy, but what about multilingual EAS?

The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council said in a blog post before Sandy devastated some of the coastal areas of the Atlantic states that it’s been waiting seven years for the FCC to act on its petition urging the agency to take action to ensure that non-English speakers are aware of emergency warnings.

To be accurate, the FCC has proposed addressing the issue of conducting alerts in Spanish and other languages in several revisions of proposed EAS rules.

However a requirement that broadcasters transmit emergency alerts in languages other than English has not passed.

MMTC President David Honig urged radio stations to develop such a plan: “All we ask is that stations in a market all come up with a plan such that if the only station serving major language groups goes off the air, or there is no station, that other ‘designated hitter’ stations will provide information in that language to protect the public while the emergency is in effect. This is a moral outrage.”