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REC Asks for LPFM Waiver on New EAS Reporting Duty

Says stations lack sufficient staff and experience

An LPFM advocacy group has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for relief for LPFMs when it comes to meeting a new multilingual EAS reporting requirement.

Citing a lack of publicity surrounding an order adopted by the FCC in March 2016 — as well as the lack of input from LPFM stations — REC Networks filed a motion with the FCC for either a blanket waiver or extension of time for LPFM stations.

As it stands, the FCC established that all EAS participants must report some EAS details to their State Emergency Communications Committees by Nov. 6. That information should include:

  • Description of any actions taken by the EAS participant to make EAS alert content available in languages other than English to its non-English speaking audiences; and
  • Description of any future actions planned by the EAS participant to provide EAS alert content in languages other than English to its non-English speaking audiences, as well as an explanation of the decision to plan/not plan such actions.

This is in addition to a separate reporting requirement due by Nov. 13, known as Form Three, that should detail the results of the most recent National EAS Test.

In its filling, REC Networks pointed out that not only are LPFM stations not required to follow the same regulatory requirements as full-service broadcast stations, but the LPFM community is not represented by any single national membership organization to provide advice or legislative support on matters such as these. These stations are often operated by small churches and small public sector organizations without significant support or professional, experienced staff, said Michelle Bradley, REC Networks founder.

In addition, REC Networks noted that insufficient notice was given about the upcoming deadline. Details on the new requirement, which comes in the form of a Compliance Guide, did not appear in any FCC Daily Digest publication in August, Bradley said. She said most single-station LPFM organizations depend on the Daily Digest and the LPFM page at the media bureau to be informed of policy related communications from the commission. The item was released on Aug. 15.

“Because of the current nature of the LPFM service, the service’s actual role in EAS and the lack of publicity by the commission surrounding this proceeding …, it is REC’s position that a waiver of this reporting requirement by LPFM stations or in the alternate, an extension of time would be in the public interest,” Bradley said.

As of Nov. 1, the FCC has not issued a response to the waiver request. LPFM stations can access information about their local A List of SECCs and EAS plans here.