The FCC has just issued orders fining two stations, one for $8000 and one for $5000, for not having EAS receivers that were in compliance with FCC rules. The stations, which are located in the same building, shared one EAS receiver. According to FCC rules, co-located stations can share EAS receivers when they are also co-owned. Here, however, the stations were not under common ownership so, under the rules, they could not share the same receiver. In addition, in connection with the station that received the higher fine, the FCC noted that the receiver was not properly calibrated, having incorrect date and time information – being set permanently on January 10, 1995. As the system was set up to automatically retransmit the required monthly EAS tests, and those tests would not be properly relayed if they were encoded with a date that the system did not think had yet occurred, the station had not been transmitting the required monthly tests, nor noting the failure to do so in their station log.
In attending several engineering seminars at broadcast conventions in the last few months, I’ve noted that broadcast compliance inspectors consistently identify non-working EAS receivers as the number one compliance problem at broadcast stations. And one of the biggest problems is with receivers that either have never had the correct date set, or which have a clock which is malfunctioning so that the correct date and time is not properly updated. Inspectors have also noted that many times they find EAS receivers not having the proper audio inputs so that they can receive the station that they are supposed to be monitoring, or proper outputs so that they can relay the tests that they do receive. And, as a station’s chief operator is supposed to be weekly checking the station’s log, which should include a record of all EAS tests sent and received, these discrepancies should be noted within a few days – yet they often go unnoticed for long periods of time – meaning that the station can also be fined for not having properly maintained their station log. As these fines can add up, stations should insure that their equipment is working and monitored to avoid making some involuntary contributions to the US Treasury.