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October 17, 2011
TV Tech Check

23 Days Until the National EAS Test

There are only 23 days left to the first-ever, coordinated, end-to-end test of the nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) on November 9, 2011. By FCC rule, all Radio and Television stations, including Non-participating National stations (NN), must participate in the November 9 National test. Here's what you need to know:

The Basics
  • The test will be originated at 2 p.m. eastern time on November 9.

  • The National EAS Test will utilize the Emergency Action Notification (EAN) code. This is a "live-code" test, i.e. it will use the code that would be used in an actual national emergency.

  • The Alert will be transmitted through the Primary Entry Point (PEP) network of stations. All broadcast stations should verify their monitoring assignment to ensure that they can receive the EAN. The EAN may also be available via your local National Public Radio (NPR) station. If you believe that your station will not be able to receive the EAN, immediately contact the FCC or FEMA (see below).

  • The test will be approximately 3.5 minutes in duration (the audio message will be 2.5 minutes long to ensure that EAS equipment will not "lock up" after two minutes - the maximum length for all other EAS alerts).

  • The audio portion of the test will state that "This is a Test." NOTE: the text crawl automatically generated by stations' EAS equipment will state they this is an EAN and will not indicate that the event is a test.

  • To minimize public confusion and to ensure that the test is fully accessible, TV stations should insert a background graphic (or other visual element) behind the EAS crawl that clearly indicates to their viewers that "THIS IS A TEST." A sample graphic is provided here.

  • The test will not use the new CAP-based alerting technology.

  • All stations are responsible for ensuring that EAS encoders and decoders are installed and configured so that the monitoring and transmitting functions are available during the times that the station is in operation. FEMA has assembled a set of EAS Best Practices by which EAS Participants may check to see if they are maintaining their EAS equipment in good working order. These best practices may be found on FEMA's National EAS test website.

    EAS Test - Mandatory Reporting
    FCC Rules require all EAS participants to provide results of the EAS national test within 45 days of the test date. Under these requirements, EAS Participants must report and submit to the Commission the following test-related diagnostic information:

  • The EAS Participant's facility identification information;
  • The EAS Participant's EAS designation (NP, SP, LP-1, etc.);
  • The geographic location of the EAS Participant's facility;
  • The make and model number of EAS Participants' EAS equipment;
  • The date/time of receipt of the EAN message;
  • Who the EAS Participant was monitoring at the time of the test;
  • Whether the EAS Participant received the alert message during the designated test;
  • Whether it retransmitted the alert if required;
  • If the EAS Participant was not able to receive and/or transmit the alert, it must supply a detailed diagnostic analysis regarding the cause(s) for such failure.

    The FCC has established an on-line EAS National Test Reporting System. This electronic submission system should impose a lesser burden on EAS Participants because they will be able to input electronically the above information. The FCC has indicated that all information collected will be kept confidential. The FCC is expected to announce that link for the on-line system within the next week.

    Public Outreach
    The broadcasting industry has pledged to help increase public awareness of the nationwide EAS test. NAB has worked with FEMA and the FCC on the production and distribution of public service announcements (PSAs) designed to promote awareness. NAB strongly encourages every station to download and air one or more of the PSAs available on NAB's EAS Web page or to use one of the template scripts to tailor your own PSA. NAB recommends that stations start airing nationwide EAS test PSAs at least one week before the test, and with increasing frequency as November 9 approaches.


    Gregory M. Cooke
    Associate Chief, Policy and Licensing Division
    Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau
    Federal Communications Commission
    (202) 418-2351 (office)


    Manny Centeno
    Program ManagerIPAWS Program Office
    National Continuity Programs
    Department of Homeland Security
    (202) 646-4328 (office)
    (202) 538-4199 (mobile)

    Detailed information about the National EAS test, including TV and Radio PSAs and links to FCC, FEMA and other organizations websites, is available here. Check back frequently for updates.

  • Last Call for Proposals for the
    2012 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference

    Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Conferences April 14 - 19, 2012 Exhibits April 16 - 19, 2012
    Deadline for submissions is October 21, 2011

    The 2012 NAB Show will host the 66th NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference. This world-class conference addresses the most recent developments in broadcast technology and focuses on the opportunities and challenges that face broadcast engineering professionals. Each year hundreds of broadcast professionals from around the world attend the conference. They include practicing broadcast engineers and technicians, engineering consultants, contract engineers, broadcast equipment manufacturers, distributors, R&D engineers plus anyone specifically interested in the latest broadcast technologies.

    In order to be considered, proposals must explain what attendees can expect to learn from the paper, must not be a sales pitch, and should be no more than 200 words in length.

    Papers accepted for presentation at the 2012 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference will be eligible for the NAB Best Paper Award. Established in 2010, the Best Paper Award honors the author(s) of a paper of exceptional merit published in the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Proceedings. The yearly proceedings, published as both a book and a CD-ROM is a compendium of these technical papers, and an important archive of the leading edge of broadcast engineering issues.

    Technical paper proposals submitted for the 66th annual Broadcast Engineering Conference will be accepted until the October 21 deadline. If you have any questions, contact John Marino, vice president, education NAB Technology at (202) 429-5346

    VSB Measurements Seminar plus 8VSB Specialist Certification Exam Review

    Friday, October 28 2011 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Exam Review)
    Saturday, October 29, 2011 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Measurements Seminar)
    KERA Studios, Dallas Texas

    This updated seminar presented by Gary Sgrignoli of Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace will help you develop an understanding of the 8-VSB transmission system basics as well as measurement techniques. Practical test equipment information will be covered. Also included is new information on mobile/handheld DTV, distributed transmission and recent information on DTV reception. The seminar is designed for broadcasters, consultants, equipment manufacturers (broadcast, consumer, and test), translator/LPTV operators and cable operators. Friday's special SBE 8-VSB specialist certification exam review session is free. If you have questions, contact Tim Schuessler, (972) 313-1333 or Gay Sgrignoli, (847) 259-3352.

    The October 17, 2011 TV TechCheck is also available in an Adobe Acrobat file. Please click here to read the Adobe Acrobat version of TV TechCheck.