The FCC on Monday released a Public Notice announcing that its next test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is scheduled for August 7 with a back-up date of August 21 (back-up dates being provided in the event that there are severe weather situations or other emergencies in early August which could increase the potential for public confusion on the originally scheduled date). This test will, unlike the last test we wrote about here, 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.

Thus, 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.

By July 3, stations need to review their station information in the FCC’s ETRS system used to record the results of EAS tests and either correct that information or otherwise affirm that it is correct. Only stations (like translators and boosters) that completely rebroadcast a primary station are exempt from this filing obligation. ETRS Form 2 reports to the FCC a quick summary of the results of the test, and is filed on August 7, the day of the test (or on the back-up date if the test is postponed). ETRS Form 3 provides more detailed reports of the results of the test. It will be due September 23.

Start your preparations now – and make sure that the ETRS information is updated by July 3.