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Timm: FEMA EAS-CAP ‘Shot Clock’ Not a Hard Start

EAS volunteer plans to retire from WTMJ

EAS is a big theme for radio at the NAB Show as alerting equipment providers display next-gen gear.

EAS guru Gary Timm is feeling confident about how the emergency alert system’s migration to a next-gen Common Alerting Protocol is progressing and so is FEMA, he says.

During the SBE’s Ennes workshop at the NAB show this weekend, Timm told attendees that FEMA won’t start its 180-day “shot clock” marking when stations need to have CAP-compliant EAS encoders/decoders in their facilities, until they know stations can handle the CAP messages.

That’s a big relief “that gives us comfort,” said the engineer for Journal Broadcast Group-Milwaukee.

FEMA says it will have the capability to provide CAP alerts to all EAS participants by the end of that 180 day period, he added, which the agency is targeting to begin either in Q3 or Q4 of this year. FEMA is demoing CAP alerts in Booth C2052. The current EAS isn’t going away, CAP is just a new delivery method, he stressed.

Timm’s also facilitator of the EAS CAP industry group that includes hardware and software vendors as well as broadcasters. The group has drawn up a CAP-to-EAS implementation guide for FEMA that’s open for public review until April 20. CAP is just one of the EAS topics up for discussion in a meeting this afternoon.

On a personal note, Timm, a broadcast engineer who’s been at WTMJ(AM) in Milwaukee, Wis., for 37 years, plans to retire in a couple of months. He doesn’t have set plans, but tells me he may explore broadcast engineering consulting and intends to continue his volunteer EAS work. Timm is also broadcast chair of the Wisconsin EAS Committee.