On March 30, the FCC released an order on EAS multilingual alerting. In essence, the order does two things:
1. Within one year after publication in the Federal Register of a notice announcing OMB approval, EAS Participants (broadcast stations, cable systems etc.) need to inform their SECC what steps, if any, “have been or will be taken by EAS Participants, whether individually or in conjunction with state and local emergency authorities, to disseminate, broadcast, or otherwise make available, EAS alert content to non-English speaking audiences in such audiences’ primary language.” Such descriptions shall include relevant factors that explain the degree to which alerts have been disseminated or broadcast in multiple languages. As a corollary to this reporting requirement, the FCC will require EAS Participants to cooperate with state and local emergency authorities, and SECCs, to identify such information. The mandate has no specific compliance method, but rather provides the broadest flexibility to state and local governments and EAS Participants to describe any steps that have been taken to provide multilingual EAS Alerts for their respective communities.
2. SECCs need to incorporate this information in their State EAS Plan. However, the EAS NPRM the FCC released at the end of January includes a LOT of proposals that, if adopted, will change the way Michigan and other states compile and file their state plans. There is more forthcoming on this.
The FCC order also denies the MMTC’s long-standing petition calling for rule changes that would have, in essence, forced multilingual alerting.
The MAB will continue to keep you informed on EAS changes.