FEMA is moving the next national test of the system to 2021 out of consideration for the unusual circumstances and working conditions for those in the broadcast and cable industry. Although systems remain in place for rapid automatic transmission of the test message by broadcast and cable operators, the follow-on reporting activities associated with a national test place additional burdens on technical staff that are already quite busy maintaining as close to normal operation as possible.
IPAWS is a national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency alert and information messaging to the public through cell phones and internet applications using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Emergency officials across the country have sent more than 360 important safety messages on the COVID-19 pandemic to their residents via WEA and EAS.
FEMA is required by law to test IPAWS at least every three years. The national WEA capability was most recently tested in conjunction with the EAS in 2018.
The FCC’s International Bureau today dismissed an application to deliver Mandarin Chinese programming from a studio located in Irwindale, California to XEWW-AM in Rosarito, BCN for rebroadcast back into the United States. The application was dismissed because the parties failed to include in their application a key participant, Phoenix Radio, which produces the Mandarin programming in its studio. Phoenix Radio is partially owned by two entities with Chinese government ownership, Extra Steps Investment Limited and China Wise International Limited. The parties have 48 hours to cease broadcast operations related to this application.
The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice reminder for low power television stations to cease operations on the “duplex gap” spectrum by the end of July 13, 2020. Some LPTVs were allowed to continue operating temporarily on TV channels 38 where a guard band exists between telecom channel A and old TV channel 37, or on TV channels 44, 45, or 46, where there’s a duplex gap between telecom uplink and downlink channels.
In the San Diego region, Entravision’s KTCD-LP on Mt. Woodson operated for a short time on channel 46 with analog service. They’ve since signed off.
In Los Angeles, KTAV-LD operates on channel 46 and will have to shut down or share a channel since they have no pending application for a new home channel. [Edit 6/23/2020 – The FCC granted KTAV-LD a Construction Permit for a displacement allocation on channel 21 from a Beverly Hills tower site. Channel 21 is adjacent to land mobile T-band channel 20, and had been off-limits to DTV in Los Angeles. ]
WASHINGTON, May 20, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission today demanded that gateway providers allowing COVID-19 pandemic-related scam robocalls into the United States cut off this traffic or face serious consequences. And this time, they named names. This is the second such action taken during the pandemic, following a successful push in April with similar letters from the agencies that led to the termination of other robocallers’ access to American phone networks.
The Federal Communications Commission announced a new graphic design for a seal they intend to use at a new headquarters being built.
The design was a winning entry in an internal contest, submitted by Umasankar Arumagam. The logo uses a combination of new and old elements, including a flat-top AM broadcast tower antenna design from the 1920s.
The FCC move to their new campus has been delayed, as you might guess, by the pandemic.