EAS Resources

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The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC on Friday released its official report on the Sept. 28, 2016 Nationwide EAS Test. Was it a success?

Over 20,000 broadcasters, cable operators, and other EAS Participants participated in the 2016 Nationwide EAS Test, totaling 95% of EAS Participants — a 25% improvement over the 2011 test.

The vast majority of these EAS Participants received and retransmitted the National Periodic Test (NPT).

The results further show that the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) version of the alert delivered superior digital sound and successfully delivered non-English alerts to those EAS Participants that wished to distribute them.



Dallas city officials said Saturday that a hacker is to blame for setting off all the city's 156 emergency outdoor sirens, which wailed for an hour and half overnight.

Rocky Vaz, director of the city's Office of Emergency Management, said engineers determined an unidentified hacker somewhere in the Dallas area was responsible, but has not been tracked down.

The hacker tricked the system to send repeat signals activating each siren 60 times during the night, Vaz said. The sirens started sounding at 11:42 p.m. Friday and continued until 1:17 a.m. Saturday.



Mary Collins, TV Newscheck

While all businesses must be vigilant, media companies seem to be in the crosshairs for cyberattacks lately. In the past few months alone, attackers have hacked into several broadcasters’ audio streaming devices as well as perpetrating other types of cyber vandalism. So what can media companies do to minimize the costs of a cyberattack, which include damage to the organization’s reputation? Here are six suggestions from cybersecurity experts.

A few years ago, MFM was hit by a crypto virus. I’m embarrassed to admit that it came in through my computer — the source was a flash drive containing a speaker’s presentation. The good news is that we use a third-party IT company that continuously monitors our network and we have nightly cloud backups. MFM was back up and running within a few hours; our data loss was minimal.

While all businesses must be vigilant, media companies seem to be in the crosshairs for cyberattacks lately. In the past few months alone, attackers have hacked into several broadcasters’ audio streaming devices to transmit what the FCC described as “potentially offensive or indecent material to the public.” In addition, Yahoo was hit with an SEC investigation focused on whether it should have notified investors sooner about its two major data breaches.

Piling onto these high profile incidents are warnings about W2 phishing attacks targeting employee data and a dramatic rise in the number of ransomeware attacks on American businesses. Experian is also cautioning about the potential of an increase in "aftershock" breaches — unauthorized logins that result from subsequent sales of customer data on the dark web.



Broadcasters across the country participated in and observed the second ever Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) National Test (INT) on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016. The test demonstrated the progress made and evolution of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) since the previous (and first ever) national test in 2011. Using feedback from broadcasters and the emergency management community, IPAWS plans to build on the success of the 2016 test to prepare and plan for more annual national tests.

Alfred "Al" Kenyon, INT Technical Lead, and Austin Randazzo of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will present a review of notable observations from the 2016 IPAWS EAS Test. This presentation will include a discussion of successes and areas for improvement, audio samples from the test, maps of successful test distribution pathways, as well as results reported from the FCC EAS Test Reporting System. Mr. Kenyon and Mr. Randazzo will also discuss the test's implications and applications for local and state EAS plans and broadcasters' roles in helping shape those plans. The 2016 INT was not a one and done event. The test was just the beginning of a regular series of national IPAWS EAS tests, which will be conducted on an annual basis. This presentation will publically set the framework for the 2017 INT and beyond.


Larry Wilkins will serve as chairman

Emily M. Reigart, Radio World

Emergency alerting is a crucial and fast-evolving part of the world of broadcasting; now engineers have another resource to help them sort it all out.

Society of Broadcast Engineers President Jerry Massey has authorized the formation of an SBE EAS Advisory Group, the organization has announced.

The group will work to “stay abreast of developments regarding EAS that will affect SBE members,” according to a press release. These developments in federal regulations, policy and technology will then be communicated to the relevant SBE leadership and staff.



GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WZTV) People involved in the Gatlinburg wildfires didnt receive text alerts about the mandatory evacuation, according to officials.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said no text alerts were sent in the Gatlinburg fires due to communications between agencies being disrupted.

Video provided to Fox Nashville from Darlene Dodd Payne shows the terrifying scene as people were evacuating:



The Federal Communications Commission hasnt put a lot of focus on radio during Tom Wheelers chairmanship but one of the last items coming to a vote before he steps down will impact broadcasters. At the Commissions monthly meeting, Wheeler plans to consider new Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules. The Commission says the update will help protect EAS against hackers and accidental misuse. The FCC is also scheduled to decide whether to launch a new rulemaking that would look at several proposals to leverage technological advances to improve alerting as well as ways to beef up EAS security.

"The EAS is our national public warning system, which broadcasters, cable and satellite companies use to keep us informed in times of crisis, Wheeler writes in a blog post. Our new rules would strengthen EAS by promoting greater participation by partners on the state and local levels, improved testing and enhanced EAS security."



But EAS Participants have a year to advise their SECCs of what, if anything, theyre doing to provide EAS alerts to non-English speaking audiences.

EAS handbook in Spanish-1As we reported last spring, the FCC declined to require that non-English language announcements be provided by Emergency Alert System participants. But the Commission did decide that all State EAS Plans (which are routinely subject to FCC approval) include a description of what actions, if any, EAS participants in the geographic area covered by the Plan have taken or plan to take to make EAS content available for non-English speaking audience(s). Also to be included in State Plans: [a]ny other relevant information that the EAS Participant may wish to provide, including state-specific demographics on languages other than English spoken within the state, and identification of resources used or necessary to originate current or proposed multilingual EAS alert content.



Susan Ashworth, Radio World

Just as soon as the Rolling Stones jumped in to "Start Me Up" the song stopped - and that was a good thing.

Wednesday`s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System halted Mick from promising that he`d never stop, never stop - at least as heard on XM Satellite by one Radio World contributor at 11:20 a.m. Pacific time. Now, from across the country, comments continue to roll in to Radio World that the EAS IPAWS test widely went smoothly, as experienced in the field. (We reported a first batch yesterday.)

But we`re still watching for a consensus to emerge about how the subsequent filing process in the new FCC EAS Test Reporting System went. And official technical conclusions about the test and what it revealed await review and reporting by federal officials, who will, among other things, compare this experience with the first such national test in 2011.

The Federal Communications Commission did report Thursday that it had heard from more than 22,000 participants - broadcast stations and other EAS-involved entities - following the Sept. 28 test. And the test itself seems to have come through in most cases clearly and audibly.