With a number of upcoming regulatory deadlines approaching, we thought that this would be a good time to remind broadcasters of regulatory obligations that they may have, with the passage of time, forgotten. One of those obligations is the requirement to file EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One by February 28, 2023 – next Tuesday. Filing instructions are provided in the Public Notice issued by the FCC earlier this year (see also our articles here and here). All EAS Participants – including Low Power FM stations (LPFM), Class D non-commercial educational FM stations, and EAS Participants that are silent pursuant to a grant of Special Temporary Authority – are required to register and file in ETRS, with the following exceptions: Analog and digital low power television (LPTV) stations that operate as television broadcast translator stations, FM broadcast booster stations and FM translator stations that entirely rebroadcast the programming of other local FM broadcast stations, and analog and digital broadcast stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station (or common studio or control point if there is no hub station) and rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming of the hub station (or common studio or control point). This form provides basic information about EAS participants to the FCC. The form requests basic information about contact persons at a station, the model of EAS equipment used, and monitoring assignments under the legacy EAS system. In effect, it registers all EAS users in the ETRS system so that they can file reports on (using ETRS Forms Two and Three) about the performance of Nationwide EAS tests that are periodically conducted. We are expecting a Nationwide Test in 2023. While the FCC has not in the past fined stations who failed to file these reports, there are indications that the filing requirement may be taken much more seriously this year. So, remember to file – and carefully read the Public Notice and the form to make sure that all necessary information is properly uploaded.
On the subject of EAS, the FCC recently released a new 2023 version of the EAS Operating Handbook. A copy of the Handbook must be located at normal duty positions of station operators or at the location of EAS equipment where it can be immediately available to staff responsible for authenticating messages and initiating actions. The handbook provides duty operators information about what to do when EAS alerts (tests or real activations of the system) are received by the station. The new handbook updates the old handbook in a limited fashion, but it also provides stations an opportunity to update their own practices as the Handbook requires that the broadcaster provide information in spaces provided in the Handbook as to the broadcaster’s specific equipment and procedures at their stations. Stations should download this Handbook and make sure that it is available as required.Continue Reading Regulatory Bits and Pieces – ETRS Form One and Delayed Public File Uploads Due by February 28, Updated EAS Handbook Required for All Stations