Category Archives: EAS and Amber Alerts

EAS Test Reporting System Open For 2019 Filings; July 3 Deadline For Form One

With the next national EAS test announced for August 7 at 2:20 p.m. Eastern (with a backup date of August 21), the FCC has opened up the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) for stations to enter their information.  All EAS participants are required to renew their identifying information annually with ETRS Form One, and required to submit filings on or before July 3.

The full FCC press release is here.

Each EAS participant is required to file a separate copy of Form One for each of its EAS decoders, EAS encoders or units that combine decoder and encoder functions.

There are a few exceptions to the requirement to file Form One. They are analog and digital low-power TV stations that operate as TV broadcast translator stations; FM broadcast booster stations and FM translator stations that rebroadcast the programming of other local FM broadcast stations; and analog and digital stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station and rebroadcast 100% of the programming of the hub station.

In addition, the commission has set a deadline of August 7 on or before 11:59 p.m. EDT to file ETRS Form Two, which covers “day of test” information. Post-test data covered in ETRS Form Three will need to be submitted by September 23.

With regard to the national test itself, this test will rely solely on the broadcast-based daisy chain where the test is initiated on certain broadcast primary stations, then rebroadcast by stations that monitor those primary stations, who then pass on the test to other stations that monitor these secondary stations and so on down the line to all the EAS participants. This test will not use the Internet-based IPAWS system used in other recent tests.

MAB Washington Counsel David Oxenford advises “In the run-up to the August test, broadcasters should be sure that their EAS receivers are in working order and are tuned to receive the correct stations that they should be monitoring in order to receive alerts. Check your state EAS plan to make sure you know what stations you are to monitor. Make sure that you have been receiving and logging (in your station log) weekly and monthly tests as required by the FCC rules. If you have not been receiving these tests, that likely indicates problems either with your receivers or with the stations that you are monitoring – so find out the reasons for missing tests now and take any corrective actions (as you are required to by the rules). Check out all of your other EAS equipment to make sure that everything is working properly and prepare for the other paperwork obligations that arise because of the upcoming test.”

 

Date of Next National EAS Test Announced

FEMA has submitted a filing to the FCC indicating that the next national EAS test will be on Wednesday, August 7, at 2:20 p.m. Eastern.

As in the past, the test will use the NPT (National Periodic Test) code and will be issued through the Primary Entry Point network. Note that there is a typo in the filing, 2016 instead of 2019. Here is the filing:

https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/10522641001151

Third Local Primary Station Coming to Northwest EAS Region

Following last week’s news regarding St. Clair County, EAS improvements continue in Michigan.  At this past January’s State Emergency Communications Committee Meeting (SECC), a longtime problem in the state’s lower-peninsula Northwest EAS region was addressed.

Over the years, some EAS participants reported difficulties in receiving the region’s LP-2 station, licensed to Indian River, Michigan.  WMKC-FM’s tower location is located in the far north portion of the EAS region.  Broadcasters from Cadillac south reported difficulties in reliably receiving WMKC, simply because of the distance.

The SECC elected to find another station to serve as an LP-3 to relay the LP-1, LP-2, National Weather Service and State Relay via WCMU to broadcast stations in the southern portion of the region.

With the assistance of Midwestern Broadcasting Chief Engineer Eric Send, several facilities were looked at.  WLJN-FM (Traverse CIty), 89.9 mHz was deemed a good candidate, with both a robust 100,000 watt signal, plus a forthcoming backup generator due for install in June.  MAB’s Dan Kelley spoke with the station this past Monday and WLJN agreed to become the LP-3 for the Northwest Region.

WLJN will become an LP-3 and the alternative for EAS participants who cannot receive the LP-2 effective August 1, 2019.

Many thanks to Brian Harcey (General Manager) and Don Parker (Chief Engineer) of Good News Media, licensee of WLJN.  Also again to Eric Send of Midwestern Broadcasting for his help and guidance on this issue.

Stations in the Northwest Region should receive notice of this change in the coming weeks.

EAS Region Change for St. Clair County

This past January, the State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) met and approved a proposal to move St. Clair County from the Southeastern EAS Region to the adjacent East Central Region.

The reason for this change was continued complaints from broadcasters that reliable, clear reception of the Southeastern LP-1 and LP-2 stations has been difficult.

As part of this shift, the SECC has added an additional local primary station to the East Central Region.  Radio First/Liggett Communication’s WSAQ-FM has volunteered to become a local primary.  WSAQ already had much of the infrastructure in place, including an EMnet terminal.

Broadcasters in St. Clair County were notified this past week that they will be required to monitor WHNN-FM (Bay City/Saginaw) as well as WSAQ-FM for EAS needs.  In order to give them time to install a neccessary antenna to receive WHNN, the date of the change was set as July 1, 2019.

The SECC and MAB would like to thank Radio First/Liggett’s Sean Richardson and Caleb Gordon for stepping up and helping resolve this issue.

Attention U.P. Stations: Wisconsin Will Conduct Two Live Tornado Code Tests on April 11

The MAB has learned that Wisconsin Broadcasters will be conducting live tornado code EAS tests this coming Thursday.  Stations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, especially those near the Wisconsin border, should be prepared for any listener inquiries.  Also stations that may monitor Wisconsin-based stations for EAS purposes should take notice.

Information on the tests is below:

  • Two tests will run on April 11 (or if there is severe weather on April 11, both tests will be conducted on April 12). If the afternoon test runs on April 11, but the evening test is cancelled due to the threat of severe weather, the evening test will not be rescheduled to the next day – it will just be cancelled.

All times are in the Central time zone.

AFTERNOON TEST:

1:00 p.m. – Tornado Watch “TOA” EAS Code issued

1:45p.m. – Tornado Warning “TOR” EAS Code issued by all NWS offices serving Wisconsin counties*

EVENING TEST:

(The TOA EAS Code will not be sent for the evening test.)

6:45 p.m. – Tornado Warning “TOR” EAS Code issued by all NWS offices serving Wisconsin counties*

EAS Header Code parameters to be used in both tests:
Originator Code: WXR
EAS Code: TOR
EAS Duration: 15 minutes

*These tests are being coordinated with the State of Minnesota. Stations in the border area will receive both Wisconsin and Minnesota counties in the same coordinated TOR Tornado Warning EAS message at both 1:45 and 6:45 p.m.

 

Statewide Tornado Drill: Wednesday, March 27

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared  March 24-30 to be Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Broadcasters and Emergency Management partners statewide are encouraging Michiganders to conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. ET this Wednesday, March 27.  

Broadcaster participation will take place with an EAS Required Monthly Test at 1 p.m. on March 27.  As with all RMTs, the test will remind the public that in the event of a tornado, severe weather or other emergency, official information would have followed the EAS tones.

Broadcasters are encouraged to run the alert as soon as possible after 1pm, following the reception of the RMT.  They are also encouraged to promote the test and their role in relaying important information to the public when severe weather strikes.  This can be done on-air and through websites and social media.

On a voluntary basis, Emergency Managers may conduct a test of warning sirens and other drills.  Broadcasters are encouraged to contact their local emergency management personnel to get specific details on activities happening in their communities.

Additional resources, tips for listeners and viewers and graphics are available here.

Thank you for your commitment to being preparedness leaders in the state and in your communities.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kelley at the MAB: 517.484.7444 or [email protected].

Statewide Tornado Drill Set for 1 p.m. on March 27

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared the week of March 24-30 Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Broadcasters and Emergency Management partners statewide are encouraging Michiganders to conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 27.

Broadcaster participation will take place with an EAS Required Monthly Test at 1 p.m. on March 27.  As with all RMTs, the test will remind the public that in the event of a tornado, severe weather or other emergency, official information would have followed the EAS tones.

Broadcasters are encouraged to run the alert as soon as possible following the reception of the RMT.  They are also encouraged to promote the test and their role in relaying important information to the public when severe weather strikes.  This can be done on-air and through websites and social media.

On a voluntary basis, Emergency Managers may conduct a test of warning sirens and other drills.  Broadcasters are encouraged to contact their local emergency management personnel to get specific details on activities happening in their communities.

Additional resources, tips for listeners and viewers and graphics are available here.

Thank you for your commitment to being preparedness leaders in the state and in your communities.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Kelley at the MAB: 517.484.7444 or [email protected].

Sage Releases ENDEC Firmware Upgrade

RadioWorld reports that EAS equipment maker Sage Alerting Systems has announced a firmware upgrade for its ENDEC Model 3644.  The upgrade, #89-32, adds Blue Alert functionality. Blue Alerts are warnings about police that may be in trouble or are issuing a related emergency message. They are currently voluntary.

The company adds, “The release notes also address a check that you will need to perform if you have used the old “new event” option in the settings file.”

Sage has provided release notes here.

2019 Regional EAS RMT Schedules Posted

The MAB has posted the monthly RMT schedules for 2019 on its website The schedules indicate the date and time of the RMT in each region and who the originator of the test will be (usually a local primary station, though in some instances the test may be originated at the local emergency management level).

The test schedules can be found hereNote that on March 27, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern, a special RMT will be issued statewide with including special lanaguage for the Statewide Tornado Drill, part of Severe Weather Awareness week.

The MAB is still working with a few regions in updating test information for 2019.  Any questions? Call Dan at 517-484-7444 or email [email protected].

EAS Alerts On Repeat?

This past week, InsideRadio reported that Emergency Alert System warnings would become a lot harder to miss under a bill advancing in Congress. It would allow the government to put the alert on repeat while a threat remains pending.

This proposal, along with other EAS rule changes, came about following the erroneous missile alert in Hawaii earlier this year.  Under the proposed Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement Act or “READI Act” (S.3238), the Federal Communications Commission would be given six months after the bill’s passage to determine how to implement the EAS repeats.

The bill stated that it would apply to any messages that have been issued by the President or administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Other proposals in the READI Act include elimination of the option that currently allows the public to opt-out of receiving certain federal EAS messages on their mobile devices. It would also establish a reporting system for false alerts like the one that occurred in Hawaii earlier this year so that the FCC can track when they occur and examine their causes.

The NAB, in a statement supporting the proposal, said the support  any move that would improve the timeliness, accuracy and availability of emergency alerts when disaster strikes and that “Local radio and TV broadcasters play a vital role as ‘first informers’ in keeping communities safe, and we understand the importance of relevant and up-to-date information when lives are at risk.”

Read the complete InsideRadio article here.