Several years ago, the FCC mandated that broadcasters utilize not only the traditional over-the-air “daisy-chain” broadcast EAS alerting system where emergency alerts are passed from one station to another but also utilize an Internet-based Common Alerting Protocol (“CAP”) system where warnings can be sent directly to stations (see, for example, our articles here and

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.
Continue Reading

With very limited exceptions, all broadcast stations are required to participate in Emergency Alert System, and to transmit any alerts that they may receive during their hours of operation. The FCC has just proposed to issue an $8000 fine to a station that allegedly had a working EAS receiver  (unlike some of the stations we have

In a recent decision, the FCC upheld the dismissal of a noncommercial FM application filed during the 2007 NCE FM window, despite the fact that the application was not mutually exclusive with any other pending application. This somewhat unusual result came about following the selection of a winner from among a group of mutually exclusive noncommercial applications. That group of mutually exclusive applicants (or, as the FCC calls it, an “MX Group”) contained a number of applications in a “daisy chain.”   As an example, a daisy chain would be where Applicant A was mutually exclusive with Applicant B, and Applicant B was mutually exclusive with Applicant C, and Applicant C was mutually exclusive with Applicant D, but Applicants C and A were not themselves mutually exclusive.  In the case decided last week, there were actually 13 applications in the chain.  When the FCC used its point system for evaluating noncommercial applications, it selected a winner and dismissed all of the remaining applicants.  One of those dismissed applicants, The Helpline, asked the FCC to reconsider the dismissal of its application, arguing that, when you dismissed all of the applications that were mutually exclusive with the winning applicant, the technical facilities proposed by the Helpline would no longer be mutually exclusive with any application and thus could be granted as well. The FCC denied that request.

Why was that request denied? In its order establishing the rules governing the processing of noncommercial FM applications in the 2007 NCE window, the FCC decided that it would grant only one application out of any MX Group, even where not all of the applications in that group were mutually exclusive with each other. According to last week’s order, the Commission considered allowing the grant of more than one applicant in a group, but determined that doing so could lead to the grant of an application that is “inferior” to other applications, and which would not necessarily represent the best use of the spectrum, so they decided to grant only one applicant from each MX Group.


Continue Reading

The processing of the applications for new noncommercial FM stations marches on.  This week, the FCC released a list of groups of Mutually Exclusive applications (commonly known by those who regularly deal with the FCC as "MX groups"), i.e. applications that are linked together in that, because of interference concerns, not all can be granted.