Clear Channel Plans Tiered EAS Conversion - Radio World

Clear Channel Plans Tiered EAS Conversion

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Paul McLane is U.S. editor in chief of Radio World.

I promised to do some digging and update you on how broadcast stations and groups are doing in their EAS CAP conversions. Where better to turn than Clear Channel Radio, which has 890 or so stations?

I asked Steve Davis, senior VP of engineering and capital management for the big broadcaster, where his company stands in the process of updating emergency alerting gear to comply with the pending regulatory deadline for CAP compliance.

Davis tells me that Dan Mettler, senior VP of engineering for the central region, is spearheading the group’s compliance effort. After researching various options, Mettler “arrived at a tiered approach that will get us compliant by the deadline,” Davis said. “Equipment is on order and will arrive in July and August.”

Very few Clear Channel stations are CAP-compliant at present. “We are employing a strategy that leverages our installed base of Endec equipment but adds the CAP functionality,” Davis said. After “significant” research, Clear Channel Radio has standardized on Sage Systems.

“Our initial rollout is 246 new units, which will get us compliant with the current requirements,” Davis told me. Those will be tied to the remaining existing decoders so all 890 stations are covered. “We will undertake a second rollout in 2012 to add enhanced functionality once the ‘must carry’ rules are solidified.”

Allan Brace, SVP engineering project management and capital purchasing, headed procurement. Davis declined to name the sole-source dealer who is handling the first big sale.

He added that dealing with HD Radio and HD2 streams is a challenge, “but we are addressing that in a second phase of our rollout, which will include equipment beyond just the Endecs.”

I welcome news of how your organization is doing in the EAS process. Write to me at pmclane@nbmedia.com.

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