Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: Emergency Communications

FCC Seeks Comments on Technical Details of Nationwide EAS Test – Preparing for the Next Test?

Posted in Emergency Communications
In 2011, the FCC conducted the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System – commonly known as EAS (see our article here about the FCC’s report on the results of that test). While the system was originally created to convey Presidential alerts to the nation, it has never been used for that purpose and, until… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Report on Nationwide EAS Test And Refers to the Enforcement Bureau Stations That Did Not Submit the Results of the Test – Could Fines Follow?

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines
Almost a year and a half ago, the FCC held its first ever test of the EAS system designed to alert the country in the event of a nationwide emergency. On Friday, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a report on the results of the test. While there have been many articles in the… Continue Reading

On April Fools Day – Remember the FCC’s Hoax Rule!

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, General FCC
It’s time for our annual April Fools Day warning – be careful with on air pranks prepared especially for the day. This year, with thetragedy caused by the Australian morning show hosts calling the nurse for the Duchess of Cambridge, broadcasters have an example of what can happen when an on-air prank goes wrong. Where harm… Continue Reading

Fines to Broadcasters, Including an LPFM Station, for Lack of Working EAS – and a Reminder to Avoid EAS Tones in Commercial Messages

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fees
In the last few weeks, the FCC has fined a number of broadcast stations for failing to keep up with their EAS obligations. In one case, a low power FM operator was fined $1750 for not having any EAS receiver installed at its station – and not knowing that it was required. LPFM stations must have a… Continue Reading

Hackers Use EAS to Send Alert of Zombie Attack – FCC Issues Urgent Warning to Broadcasters to Secure Their EAS Systems

Posted in Emergency Communications
In the last two days, several radio and television stations across the country had their station’s EAS systems hacked – and ended up broadcasting alerts dealing with zombie attacks that went out using the standard EAS systems and appeared or sounded to the viewer or listener to be real alerts. The FCC and others involved in… Continue Reading

FCC Issues $8000 Fine for Radio Station Where EAS Messages Could Not Interrupt Programming During All Hours of Operation

Posted in Emergency Communications
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 havewritten about before… Continue Reading

Broadcasters Giving Back – Thoughts on Sandy, Public Service and Communications Charitable Contributions

Posted in Emergency Communications, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
For one blog entry, I’ll depart from our usual discussion of legal issues. There is plenty of time to analyze the effect that last night’s election will have on the broadcast industry, and to discuss other issues of importance to broadcasters. Instead, as we approach the holiday season, I thought that I’d go into another direction. I’ve just… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Emergency Communications Reminders to Broadcasters and Other Communications Entities in the Path of Hurricane Sandy

Posted in Emergency Communications, Television
With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the US East Coast, the FCC has issued reminders to consumers and communications companies about what to do in areas affected by the storm. Late Friday, it issued two public notices. The first public notice advised broadcasters and other communications companies that the FCC will be available 24-7 over the weekend and during the storm… Continue Reading

FCC Issues Reminders to Broadcasters in the Path of Hurricane Issac – Provide Visuals Of Emergency Information and Notify the FCC of Service Outages

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Television
With Hurricane Isaac soon to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, the FCC is issuing its usual reminders to broadcasters and other communications facilities in areas that are likely to be affected by the storm.  It has today issued two public notices.  The first Public Notice reminds video providers – particularly television stations, but other video providers as well –… Continue Reading

FCC Retracts Text-to-Speech Prohibition from New EAS Rules

Posted in Emergency Communications
The conversion of EAS alerts from text to speech by broadcast stations and cable systems, through systems contained in the stations and systems EAS equipment, was prohibited in the FCC’s Fifth Report and Order (summarized here) implementing the rules for the technology for the Common Alerting Protocol – the Internet-based alert system that must be activated… Continue Reading

New Emergency Alert System Rules Become Effective in April

Posted in Emergency Communications
The Commission’s Fifth Report and Order on the Emergency Alert System (EAS) has now been published in the Federal Register, establishing the effective date of the rules as April 23rd.  We previously issued an Advisory, available here, summarizing the Order, which was adopted in January of this year.  This Fifth Report and Order did not impose new obligations… Continue Reading

Assessing Results of the Nationwide EAS Test – More Forms, Calls for Internet Alerts

Posted in Emergency Communications
Now that we’ve completed last week’s first-ever Nationwide test of the EAS system, designed to alert Americans in the event of an emergency, the FCC is in the process of collecting information about the successes and failures of the test, through the submissions of participants.  Forms reporting on the results of the test are due by December 27. … Continue Reading

Last Minute Thoughts on Nationwide EAS Test – Filling Out the Forms, Be Careful About Post-Event News Coverage

Posted in Emergency Communications
Tomorrow (November 9) will be the first ever Nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, and last minute questions and issues continue to come in.  One caution relayed to us from a very experienced broadcast technical consultant concerns post-test news coverage.  This consultant surmises, probably accurately, that news reports, and perhaps comedy writers, will want to… Continue Reading

Revisions to Nationwide EAS Test Plans – Shorter Message and Changes in the FCC Handbook and Forms

Posted in Emergency Communications
With less than a week to go before the first ever Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System ("EAS"), changes are being made for the November 9 test.  In a Public Notice released today, the FCC announced that the EAS message that will be conveyed will be only 30 seconds long, not the two or three minutes… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Handbook for Nationwide EAS Test – First FCC Form to be Filed Now In Anticipation of the November 9 Test

Posted in Emergency Communications
The FCC has released its EAS Handbook, specially directed to the Nationwide EAS Alert that will occur on November 9.  This Handbook is to be posted at all stations that are participants in the EAS Network (which is virtually all stations) for purposes of this test only (stations should also have the standard EAS Handbook at… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Deadline for Emergency Alert System (EAS) CAP Compliance Until June 30, 2012

Posted in Emergency Communications
The FCC today announced that it is extending the deadline for participants to comply with the new EAS CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) rules until June 30, 2012.  The deadline had previously been set for just two weeks from now, September 30th; however, in light of the fact that the FCC had yet to finalize all of the new EAS CAP rules,… Continue Reading

Hurricanes and Earthquakes – Emergency Communications In the Spotlight With CAP Conversion and National EAS Test Coming Soon (Though, For CAP, Maybe Not As Soon As We Thought)

Posted in Emergency Communications
There has been much focus on emergency communications recently, with the East Coast earthquake re-igniting the debate over FM-enabled mobile phones, and with Hurricane Irene forcing stations to gear up for emergency coverage in the coming days.  But even without these unusual events, the emergency communications world has been much in the news, given the current requirement… Continue Reading

FCC Rule Making Suggesting Changes to EAS Rules has been Published in the Federal Register; Deadline for Comments is July 20

Posted in Emergency Communications
The FCC’s recent Notice of Proposed Rule Making outlining changes to the FCC’s Part 11 Rules governing the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") was published in the Federal Register today.  Today’s publication establishes the timing for submitting Comments in this proceeding.  Comments will be due by July 20, with Reply Comments due by August 4th.  By its… Continue Reading

Updates on EAS – A Nationwide Test, and Lots of Questions About CAP Implementation Including Whether More Time is Needed

Posted in Emergency Communications
The date for a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") was announced by the FCC last week, at the same meeting at which the Future of Media report was delivered.  The first ever national test of EAS will occur at 2 PM EST on November 9, 2011. As we wrote in February, the FCC amended… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Deadline to September 30, 2011 for EAS Participants to Be Able to Receive CAP Formatted Alerts

Posted in Emergency Communications
At the urging of virtually the entire broadcast and cable industry, as well as the communications engineering community, the FCC today granted an extension of time for broadcasters and other EAS participants to come into compliance with the new CAP reception requirements – putting off the need for compliance until September 30, 2011.  CAP (the Common Alerting Protocol)… Continue Reading

$25,000 FCC Fine for Safety Related Issues – No EAS, Tower With Painting and Lighting Issues

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
In yet another example of the importance that the FCC places on emergency communications and safety issues, an FCC Enforcement Bureau District Field Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability, proposing to fine a radio station $25,000 for violations including an EAS system that was not operational, as well as a tower that needed repainting and… Continue Reading

Non-Functioning EAS, An Unavailable Public File and Open Tower Site Gates Result in FCC Fines of $5500 and $3500

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Earlier this week, I posted a Top Ten list of legal issues that should keep a broadcast station operator up at night.  In two orders released today, the FCC found stations where these issues apparently had not been keeping their operators awake, as the FCC issued fines for numerous violations.  At one station, the FCC found that the EAS… Continue Reading