June 27, 2011
TV Tech Check

All Things EAS

NAB has received a number of inquiries asking where to get official information and documentation about the Emergency Alerting System, CAP requirements and the EAS National Test. Below are a number of links to the FCC and FEMA websites that station engineers can use as resources to navigate the EAS landscape.

Federal Communications Commission

The FCC EAS main Web page can be found at this link. It contains background information on the EAS and links to other documents on the Commission's website.

On May 26, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that asks over 130 questions about how the Commission should modify its Part 11 rule to accommodate the implementation of CAP (see TechCheck from June 6, 2011). The NPRM is at this link.

Comments on the NPRM are due on July 20, 2011 and the reply comments are due on August 4. To file comments, go to the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System. The Docket number is EB 04-296.


Information about FEMA's IPAWS project is on their website. The website contains information about the history of IPAWS and all its various related programs including the EAS.

As part of the implementation of CAP, FEMA requires the manufacturers of CAP compliant encoders/decoders to submit their products to the Conformity Assessment Program. This program evaluates a vendor's products for adherence to the IPAWS CAP Profile for alert message creation and dissemination. Products that conform have a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) posted to the FEMA Responders Knowledge Base (RKB) website. To find the list of products that have completed the program do the following:

1. Go to FEMA Responders Knowledge website.
2. On the grey bar at the top of the page, hover over "Other Content", click certifications and declarations.
3. Put "IPAWS" in the search window.
4. Click the new search button.

The current list will appear in the search results window.

FEMA also maintains a blog where it posts and seeks feedback on EAS related topics. This "open dialog on the EAS" is located on their "Ideascale" Web page.

National Test

Both the FCC and FEMA maintain on-line resources containing information about the upcoming National EAS Test. This is the FCC's page. FEMA's National Test website is also accessible from their main IPAWS page.


Recently, there have been two on-line dialogs regarding the EAS, the NPRM and the National Tests. On June 9, 2011 FEMA held two Virtual Roundtable discussions. The audio recordings from these sessions are available at the links below (caution: these are direct links to very large files).

Also, on June 16, 2011 the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) together with NAB and the SBE held a virtual Town Hall Discussion focusing on the NPRM and the National test. The Town Hall is archived on the NASBA/NAB EAS Alert website.

Old User Manuals/Documentation Needed for Lawsuit Challenging Broadcasters' Use of Hard Drives to Store and Broadcast Music

A legal battle has been brewing between radio broadcasters and a company named Mission Abstract Data LLC, (doing business as DigiMedia). DigiMedia claims to have patents on a method and system for operating radio stations using a computer hard drive with a digital database of stored music that is programmed, played and broadcast. Radio broadcasters have already responded strongly to this challenge, saying that they have been playing music at stations from a hard drive since the early 1990s. Specifically, they note that SmartsBroadcasting ("SmartCaster"), Arrakis ("DigiLink"), MediaTouch ("MediaDisk"), RCS ("Master Control"), Enco ("DAD"), Digital Universe, DCS, Audisk, and a few others had such systems in place by 1992.

To prove broadcasters were using such a system prior to DigiMedia's claim, attorneys representing broadcasters are trying to track down User Manuals or other documentation about such systems that pre-date the DigiMedia's filing date (its patent was filed on January 25, 1994). Some such materials already have been collected, but radio station operators are requested to check their file cabinets, bookshelves, libraries, etc., to see if any more of these old user manuals can be located. Materials from early 1993 or before would be the most helpful. If you do have any of these old materials, or have any further questions, please contact William Bradley at (202) 659-9076, or wbradley@roylance.com.

The 2011 Radio Show Engineering Program

This year's Radio Show Engineering Program, September 14 - 16 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, brings together the three key areas that occupy the broadcast engineer's time. A series of expert tutorials and presentations cover the challenges of creating, operating and maintaining a modern radio facility. New developments in studio design and audio production are explored during Studio/Production Day. Reflecting our evolving business, Transmission/Distribution Day offers a variety of discussions addressing traditional over-the-air and web-based program distribution. Finally, Tower Day focuses on keeping an often overlooked asset - the tower - properly maintained and prepped to become a potential revenue generator.

The Radio Show is jointly produced by NAB and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The Radio Show will include an enhanced schedule and expanded Radio Show Marketplace featuring exhibitor booths. The show program will also include a complete session schedule focusing on current issues impacting radio. Early bird registration, a $200 savings over on-site registration, expires on July 3.

The June 27, 2011 Radio TechCheck is also available in an Adobe Acrobat file. Please click here to read the Adobe Acrobat version of Radio TechCheck.


Radio TechCheck will not be published on July 4, but will return
July 11, 2011.