The FCC’s Emergency Alert System ("EAS") is the bane of many broadcasters. Failing to have operational EAS equipment, or otherwise failing to comply with the requirements of the rules, including failures to conduct the mandatory tests of the system, are among the most common causes of a fine following an FCC field inspection. To help ensure compliance with the EAS rules, the FCC has issued a series of booklets outlining the EAS obligations not only for broadcasters, but also for cable systems, satellite radio and wireline video providers. These booklets can be found here. As the FCC rules require that these booklets be maintained at the location of normal duty operator for a station or systems, all media companies that are subject to the EAS rules should download and post the appropriate booklet at their control points.
The new booklets cover new requirements imposed on broadcasters in connection with their digital operations. These operations, along with services provided by satellite radio and telephone company video providers, were only recently made subject to the EAS rules (see our post here). These booklets provide the first full summary by the FCC of the application of the rules to these services. Thus, operators need to be sure to not only print out and post these booklets, but read them carefully to make sure that their operations are in full compliance. Do it today!
(Update – 12/11/2007 – the FCC today issued an order upholding a fine of $8000 to a cable operator who had EAS equipment that was not installed at the time of an FCC inspection. This demonstrates how costly EAS violations can be)