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Moody Radio Group Goes With Digital Alert Systems

Company is 99% ready but supports an extension to help smaller stations

If radio groups are having a hard time meeting the pending EAS-CAP compliance deadline, I’m having a hard time finding evidence of it. But my invitation remains open for any broadcaster, large or small, to let me know how their EAS progress (or lack of it) is going.

Here’s my latest in a series of conversations with engineering execs about this topic. This Q&A is with Mark Williames, director of engineering for Moody Radio Group, based in Chicago, which owns 35 radio stations in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico and Washington State.

Where do you stand in the process of updating your EAS gear to comply with the pending regulatory deadline for CAP compliance?

Moody Radio Group is about 99% complete.

What considerations or problems that you have had to solve in upgrading your EAS infrastructure?

We wanted a EAS/CAP solution that would be upgradeable in the future via software/firmware upgrades … not hardware upgrade. With this in mind we landed on Digital Alert Systems.

One particular challenge has been Internet connectivity. Moody has clusters in Florida, Alabama and Indiana, meaning one studio feeds four or more transmitter sites via a single C-Band satellite channel. The transmitter site can be very difficult to get Internet connectivity to because of their remote location. Without Internet, CAP functionality is not possible.

Who makes the decisions about your EAS gear and other technical matters?

As the director of engineering for all owned and operated Moody Radio stations, the decision was my responsibility.

In clusters are you using any switching equipment, or are you employing one box for every station?

As noted, we have standardized on the Digital Alert DASDEC unit for all O&O stations. Moody has purchased some 20 units from SCMS. A few of our AM/FM combo stations have required the addition of the Broadcast Devices GPM-300 switchers to handle multiple station/audio program feeds.

What is the company’s position on whether the FCC should extend the September compliance deadline?

While Moody O&Os are in good shape, we support extending the compliance deadline as we recognize the financial challenge this can represent to the small, privately owned stations around the country.

-What steps, if any, has Moody taken to prepare for the national EAS test in November?

None at this time.