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This Is Not an Emergency

Broadcast associations spread the word about Wednesday’s test

So if radio listeners hear a test this Wednesday and distractedly start flipping around the dial, will they become freaked out because all broadcasters suddenly have had their programming interrupted?

U.S. broadcast organizations on the national and state level are seeking to fill in their listeners, viewers and local news organizations so people won’t become alarmed by Wednesday’s national EAS test.

The Connecticut Broadcasters Association’s press release Monday was representative. Headed with the text “PLEASE HELP US GET THE WORD OUT TO THE PUBLIC,” it tells people on its email database that the state’s TV and radio stations will join broadcasters across the U.S. for the first nationwide test of the National Emergency Alert System on Wednesday.

It quotes Wayne G. Mulligan, vice president of emergency services for the CBA: “On Nov. 9 at 2 p.m., virtually all broadcast and cable TV programming throughout the nation will be interrupted with a standard emergency tone and message to last approximately 30 seconds. It is important that viewers and listeners do not become alarmed, as this will not be a true emergency, only a test for the National EAS System to evaluate the effectiveness of their system.”

The release explains that the test will be conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Communications Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in cooperation with broadcasters.

CBA informed its list that the alert and warning landscape “is in an important state of transition; from the current system of radio, television, cable, satellite and wireline broadcast media-based alerting to a future system that integrates new technologies for a more universal access to alert and warning messages. Future testing of the EAS will assess the effectiveness and reliability of other technologies to achieve the ultimate goal of timely alert and warning to American public in the preservation of life and property.”