Just in case you were expecting a reprieve, the FCC left no doubt in its mandate that the June 30th deadline remains for the new CAP/EAS receiver/encoder requirements. The FCC says: “This means any necessary equipment must be installed and operational by that date.”
Sage Alerting Systems EAS encoders can finally be updated for the new EAS CAP-compliant rules that begin June 30, 2012. The company posted the firmware upgrade here.
Candidates for the board of directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers have been slated by the SBE Nominations Committee. The election will be held beginning July 26 and run through August 28. Candidates include:
Ralph Hogan, CPBE, DRB, CBNT, Director of Engineering, KJZZ-FM/KBAQ-FM, Tempe, AZ, Chapter 117
Joseph Snelson, CPBE, 8-VSB, Vice President of Engineering, Meredith Corporation, Las Vegas, Nev., Chapter 128
James Leifer, CPBE, Director of Engineering and IT, Clear Channel Communications, Boynton Beach, Fla., Chapter 53
Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, Corporate Regional Engineer and DoE, Entercom Communications, Greenville, S.C., Chapter 86
Tim Anderson, CPBE, DRB, CBNT, Mgr. Radio Market & Product Development, Harris Corp., Covington, Ky., Chapter 33
Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, Technology & Operations Consultant, Roseland, N.J., Chapter 15
Steve Fluker, CBT, Senior Engineer, Cox Media Group Orlando, Orlando, Fla., Chapter 42
Kirk Harnack, CBRE, Vice President- Telos Products, Telos Systems, Nashville, Tenn., Chapter 103
John Heimerl, CPBE, Vice President, WHRO TV/Radio, Norfolk, Va., Chapter 54
Gary Kline, CBT, CBNT, Senior Vice President Corporate Engineering & IT, Cumulus Media, Atlanta, GA, Chapter 5
Scott Mason, CPBE, CBNT, Regional Director of Engineering, CBS Radio, Los Angeles, Calif., Chapter 47
Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, Asst. Dir. of Educational Broadcast Services, Office of Information Technology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, Chapter 99
Qualified members, nominated by a voting member and endorsed by at least nine additional voting members, may be added to the ballot. Candidates must be voting members, current in their SBE dues and hold certification by the SBE at an engineering level (CBT or higher). If elected, these same requirements apply during the term of office. Voting members include Regular, Senior, Fellow and Life members and the voting representatives of SBE Sustaining Members. Candidate nominations are to be emailed, faxed or mailed to the SBE national office in Indianapolis, attention: National Secretary, James Leifer, CPBE, and be received by no later than 4 p.m., EDT, July 13, 2012.
The election will commence via the Internet on July 26. Voting members who chose to opt out of electronic balloting during this year’s dues renewal period will receive their ballots in the mail.
All ballots are to be completed on-line, or if mailed, arrive at the SBE national office, by 4:30 p.m. EDT on August 28. Votes will be tabulated that evening by an authorized board of tellers.
There has been lots of talk about EAS these last few weeks, though not much to do … yet. Yes, we had the Text to Speech fire drill, but that was a big to do about nothing for most of us.
The June 30, 2012 deadline to have certified CAP EAS equipment in place, connected to the Internet and polling the IPAWS aggregator, is still looming. If you are a radio broadcaster like me, you have probably been compliant with having your equipment in place and connected to the Internet for quite some time. Like me, you’re probably just playing the waiting game to hear what you need to enter into your equipment for it to contact the FEMA concentrator.
One of the larger EAS equipment manufacturers has published a statement that says, “Looking ahead to June 30, you need to be receiving CAP messages by then. We will have a release of the IPAWS enabled ENDEC software out in a week or two.”
I strongly suggest you check your vendor’s website to see if they have an update for your unit. This information is way overdue from IPAWS, FEMA or whomever, to us in the field. Let’s hope we have more than a week’s notice. Maybe we will get some clues from the IPAWS/NASBA/NAB webinar titled: “Getting Ready for CAP: Countdown to June 30”. This webinar will be held June 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. ET (1 to 2 p.m. PT).
I believe most of us are hoping some of the final instructions about connecting to a concentrator and testing, will be addressed.
Scott Mason, CPBE
SBE EAS Education Committee Chairman
SBE website EAS Page
(Richard Rudman, SECC Vice Chair and Core Member of the Broadcast Warning Working Group, handed out this informative piece on the status of EAS at our May 16 meeting.)
Looking back on the past few weeks of the EAS story leading up to June 30 and beyond, we can safely say we know more than we did about the roadmap to the CAP-EAS implementation deadline destination, but we definitely need to know more as we ride along that road.
Prior to the NAB Convention we were all wondering if the FCC would rescind theirban on EAS Text-To-Speech (TTS). FEMA petitioned their federal partner, the FCC. A significant number of EAS stakeholders agreed and supported FEMA’s petition. And the FCC did the right thing. Voluntary use of TTS will be allowed.
At NAB, The Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) arranged for a room courtesy of the NAB for a unique workshop targeted on a missing link in what the industry needed to know about changes to the EAS. A group of twenty-five EAS subject experts that included state and local EAS Chairs, EAS equipment manufacturers, broadcasters, and a representative of FEMA met for two hours to start work on a sample state EAS plan that incorporated all we knew at that time about Part 11 changes.
That sample plan is now in its Version 3 stage, posted on the EAS Forum website, and notification that it is available has been sent to state chairs, SBE, NAB, NASBA and other interested parties. This document is by necessity going to be a work in progress, principally because the FCC has not yet given us answers on what state and local plans should say about key EAS plan elements.
As of this writing, the FCC expects state plans to include not only a mapbook, but also “….should include a data table, in computer readable form, clearly showing monitoring assignments and the specific primary and backup path for emergency action notification (EAN) messages that are formatted in the EAS Protocol (specified in §11.31), from the PEP to each station in the plan.”
This seems to some to represent an unfunded twin cost and resources burden on the volunteer groups that sit on state and local EAS committees. More guidance is needed, and a request for this guidance has been made to the FCC by the BWWG.
As the week progressed, attention turned to wondering when the report on the EAS live code test would be announced, and Part 11 decisions we were told will be made based on that report will be made. We did know that many stations (one estimate says 40%) did not file their required national test reports, and that there was no way for anyone to easily find out if their report was on file. Tom Beers, the Chief of the Policy Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, noted that the FCC said from the start that they wouldn’t cite or fine stations that had trouble running the National EAS Test but added that not filing the reports was a different matter and could be considered grounds for citations and fines. He also told attendees at the NAB’s EAS session on Wednesday of NAB week that the majority of the nonreporting stations were “low power” stations.
If you are now wondering if your station might be one of the remaining non-reporting stations, Tom Beers announced that the FCC has come up with a way for you to confirm whether they have your report. Timothy May has been designated as the source of information on National Test reports. You can contact him at email@example.com and ask him whether your report was received. You should keep a copy of his response with your EAS records. And if for some reason you have not responded yet, go to the National EAS Test website at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test and follow the instructions for “paper filings”.
Some EAS experts say that the success of EAS in the long run depends on forging strong links between the emergency management community, the originators of warnings, and the broadcast, cable and satellite entities subject to Part 11 whose job it is to get those warnings to the public.
FEMA has started the ball rolling with a procedure so state and local emergency managers can send warnings using the federal CAP aggregator:
Take a FEMA online course on IPAWS OPEN, IS-00247.
Take the online exam and pass it.
Apply to their state emergency management agency for approval to originate through the IPAWS OPEN aggregator
State emergency management forwards to FEMA approved applicants.
Origination privileges are granted.
Local and state emergency managers do not need to purchase special EAS equipment to originate. Several software vendors that specialize in selling to government make CAP warning origination tools. At this writing some, but not all have incorporated the IPAWS OPEN profile.
After NAB, the BWWG received word from FEMA that they would take further steps to help forge the vital public/private partnership needed. FEMA has new guidelines for state grant requests that could include funds for training, education projects.
So, while we now know more than we did, there are still many unanswered questions and missing puzzle pieces. We do know that the June 30 compliance deadline is a hard date, and all subject to Part 11 must be able to accept IPAWS OPEN messages either directly or indirectly by that date. For equipment-specific questions, the best advice is to watch the email list servers and stay current with what you equipment manufacturer has to say. The ride is not over yet!
Richard Rudman Vice Chair
Core Member, the BWWG