It’s time for our annual EAS State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) meeting. This year, the meeting will be held in Reno, and the Reno Chapter of the SBE is helping sponsor the event as the September SBE meeting. You are all part of EAS so you are all invited!
Here are the details:
DATE: Thursday, September 13, 2018
TIME: 2:00 — 4:00 PM
The Agenda for this year’s meeting will include an overview of CAP EAS, the status of Multilingual EAS messages, analysis of recent activations, an update of FCC activities including the upcoming National EAS Test, and a review of EAS Best Practices. Please let me know if you have any suggestions/additions for the agenda.
In addition to the meeting, we will offer a short, one-hour, EAS training session for broadcasters. The class will be held before the meeting.
DATE: Thursday, September 13, 2018
TIME: 1:00 — 2:00 PM
LOCATION: Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) 5195 Spectrum Blvd, Reno, NV 89512
Please RSVP to let me know if you are interested in attending the meeting and the training session so we have enough chairs and tables set up in the REOC.
We are looking into the possibility of teleconferencing the meeting to a facility in Las Vegas or streaming it on the interweb…we will keep you posted!
The FCC has announced some significant changes in EAS rules, now allowing “Live Code” tests, the use of the EAS attention tones in “educational” PSA’s, and requiring stations to report “false” EAS activations within 24 hours of discovery.
Click HERE for the full 21-page order which is summarized in the release below.
Rochelle Cohen, (202) 418-1162
For Immediate Release
FCC PROMOTES EMERGENCY ALERT RELIABILITY
Action Supports More Effective Local Emergency Alert Tests and PSAs,
Addresses False Alerts, and Seeks to Improve Wireless Alerts
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today took the latest in a series of actions to bolster the reliability of the nation’s emergency alerting systems and support greater community preparedness.
In a Report and Order adopted today, the Commission set forth procedures for authorized state and local officials to conduct “live code” tests of the Emergency Alert System, which use the same alert codes and processes as would be used in actual emergencies. These tests can increase the proficiency of local alerting officials while educating the public about how to respond to actual alerts. The procedures adopted by the Commission require appropriate coordination, planning, and disclaimers to accompany any such test.
To further enhance public awareness, today’s action will also permit authorized Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about the Emergency Alert System to include the system’s Attention Signal (the attention-grabbing two-tone audio signal that precedes the alert message) and simulated Header Code tones (the three audible tones that precede the Attention Signal) so long as an appropriate disclaimer is included in the PSA.
Today’s action also requires Emergency Alert System equipment to be configured in a manner that can help prevent false alerts and requires an Emergency Alert System participant, such as a broadcaster or cable system, to inform the Commission if it discovers that it has transmitted a false alert. In addition, in an accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on other specific measures to help stakeholders prevent and correct false alerts.
The Commission also seeks comment on the performance of Wireless Emergency Alerts, including how such performance should be measured and whether, and if so how, the Commission should address inconsistent delivery of these messages.
Action by the Commission July 12, 2018 by Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 18-94). Chairman Pai, Commissioners Carr, and Rosenworcel approving. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and dissenting in part. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements.
PS Docket Nos. 15-94, 15-91
ASL Videophone: (844) 432-2275; TTY: (888) 835-5322
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).
PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU OPENS THE EAS TEST REPORTING SYSTEM FOR 2018 FILINGS
PS Docket No. 15-94
Today, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission provides notice to all Emergency Alert System (EAS) Participants that the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) is now open and accepting 2018 filings.
I. FILING IDENTIFYING INFORMATION IN THE EAS TEST REPORTING SYSTEM
Pursuant to Section 11.61 of the Commission’s rules, EAS Participants must renew their identifying information required by ETRS Form One on a yearly basis. Accordingly, all EAS Participants must complete the 2018 ETRS Form One on or before August 27, 2018. Each EAS Participant should file a separate copy of Form One for each of its EAS decoders, EAS encoders, or units combining such decoder and encoder functions. For example, if an individual is filing for a broadcaster (or cable headend) that uses two units combining decoder and encoder functions, that individual should file two copies of Form One.
Filers can access ETRS by visiting the ETRS page of the Commission’s website at https://www.fcc.gov/general/eas-test-reporting-system. Instructional videos regarding registration and completion of the ETRS Form One are available on the ETRS page.
To access the ETRS, filers must use their registered FCC Username (Username) that is associated with the FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs) for which they will file. Filers that have already created a Username for use with another FCC system may access the ETRS with that Username. Filers that do not remember the password that corresponds with their Username may reset it at https://apps2.fcc.gov/fccUserReg/pages/reset-passwd-identify.htm. Filers that have not previously created a Username may do so by visiting the User Registration System at https://apps2.fcc.gov/fccUserReg/pages/createAccount.htm. Filers can associate their Username to an FRN by logging in at https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do and clicking on the appropriate option. Additional information regarding creating and associating FRNs with a Username can be found on the CORES FAQs page at https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do?faq=true.
II. FILING INFORMATION
All EAS Participants – including Low Power FM stations (LPFM), Class D non-commercial educational FM stations, and EAS Participants that are silent pursuant to a grant of Special Temporary Authority – are required to register and file Form One in ETRS, with the following exceptions:
Filers can update previously filed forms in ETRS by clicking on the “My Filings” menu option and then clicking on the record for that form. Broadcasters can pre-populate Form One by completing the FRN and Facility ID fields. Cable systems can pre-populate Form One by completing the FRN and Physical System ID (PSID) fields. EAS Participants that pre-populate Form One using a Facility ID number or a PSID number are urged to review their pre-populated data to ensure accuracy. EAS Participants are urged to review Form One as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for possible corrections. EAS Participants are allowed thirty days after submission (i.e., on or before September 26, 2018) to submit any updates or corrections to their 2018 Form One filings.
III. FURTHER INFORMATION
For further information regarding ETRS, contact Austin Randazzo, Attorney Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-1462 or email@example.com, or Gregory Cooke, Deputy Chief, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-2351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filers may contact the CORES Help Desk for assistance with creating a Username or resetting a password at CORESHelpDesk@fcc.gov or (202) 418-4120. Filers may contact Bureau staff for assistance in completing ETRS Form One at ETRS@fcc.gov.
This message is from Sage Alerting Systems regarding your Sage Digital ENDEC model 3644. It applies only to users in the United States.
Sage has released a firmware update that you must install to permit your ENDEC to continue to receive EAS CAP alerts from FEMA. A FEMA signing certificate will expire at 11:45am June 24, 2018; if you do not install this update, you will not receive CAP messages from the IPAWS system after that date.
This release also updates the SSL certificate roots that your ENDEC must have in order to download alert audio files from state or county alert originators.
Please read the release notes at https://www.sagealertingsystems.com/release1-1/cr-rev4-release-notes.pdf. They will explain why this release is necessary, and what Sage will do in a subsequent release to reduce the number of this type of update in the future.
The installation process is straightforward, as is described in the release notes. Installing this update will not change any of the settings on your ENDEC.
If you have any questions regarding this update, please email us at email@example.com or call 914-872-4069 and press 1 for support. If you get voice mail, please leave a message and we will call you back.
Posted March 24, 2018
Yesterday’s enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (feel free to read it, it’s only 2232 pages) was welcomed by broadcasters. If you’ve been following the trade press, you’ll know that’s largely because it not only added a billion dollars to the FCC’s fund for reimbursing broadcasters displaced by the spectrum repack, but for the first time made FM, LPTV, and TV Translator stations eligible for repack reimbursement funds.
At a time when trust in government has hit historic lows, Chairman Walden of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and other congressional leaders stepped up, making sure the government lived up to it original promise that broadcasters retaining their spectrum in the Spectrum Incentive Auction would be “held harmless” in the post-auction repack. Of course, a spirited lobbying campaign by NAB and state broadcasters associations across the country didn’t hurt.
What few seem to have noticed, however, is while that short term influx of reimbursement dollars is certainly welcome for stations being involuntarily relocated in the repack, the Consolidated Appropriations Act had other language in it that will bring a longer-term benefit to broadcasters and the public they serve.
One of the lessons Hurricane Katrina and subsequent disasters brought home is that in the modern age, communications is every bit as vital to saving lives as disaster relief supplies and helicopters. A blaring warning siren may be fine for telling the public to dive into the nearest bomb shelter, but weather-related catastrophes require more precise communications, such as telling people where they need to go to avoid or ride out the disaster, as well as where those disaster relief supplies can be found.
These lessons were originally hard won in Florida, where dedicated broadcasters stayed at their stations rather than protect their homes in a hurricane, only to find their transmissions halted when the station generator ran out of fuel and government officials prevented fuel trucks from entering the disaster area to resupply stations. Quick and cooperative action between government officials and the Florida Association of Broadcasters often cleared the way for specific resupply missions, but everyone realized this ad hoc approach was less than ideal.
For that reason, state broadcasters associations in numerous states pushed for, and in many cases obtained, state legislation granting broadcast station personnel “First Informer” status, allowing them access past police lines to keep information flowing to the public in a disaster area. The result was a significant improvement, particularly in disaster-prone states, but it still resulted in a patchwork approach, with some states issuing disaster credentials to broadcast personnel, other states taking a variety of approaches as to how broadcasters identify themselves to emergency personnel with swiftness and certainty, and still other states simply having no reliable disaster area access for broadcasters at all.
Which brings us back to the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Hidden in over 55,000 lines of text are just 20 lines that change the definition of “essential service provider” at a disaster site. Those twenty lines of text expand the definition of an essential service provider to include “wireline or mobile telephone service, Internet access service, radio or television broadcasting, cable service, or direct broadcast satellite service.”
As essential service providers, these entities are now empowered to access disaster areas under the provisions of an existing law, which provides that:
Unless exceptional circumstances apply, in an emergency or major disaster, the head of a Federal agency, to the greatest extent practicable, shall not—
(1) deny or impede access to the disaster site to an essential service provider whose access is necessary to restore and repair an essential service; or
(2) impede the restoration or repair of the [essential] services . . . .
Note that the change only affects Federal officials, meaning that state laws providing broadcasters with First Informer status are still needed for areas that are not Federal disaster areas. However, creating a Federal First Informer status for broadcasters is likely to expedite the adoption of similar laws in states that do not yet have them, and will likely serve to help standardize those laws, as the Federal government implements nationwide standards for how broadcast personnel can quickly identify themselves to government officials in order to gain access to a disaster area.
So while you may not be reading much about it in the trades (after all, “one BILLION dollars in additional repack funds” will always draw the headline), after the repack is done and reimbursements made, granting First Informer status will be the more lasting impact of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for broadcasters and the public that depends on them for rapid and accurate information in a disaster.
Make sure to spread the word.
EAS Security Notes
April 10, 2017
Prepared by the SBE EAS Advisory Group
Intrusions into computerized equipment have been around since the internet became a reality years ago. It is no surprise to broadcast engineers that these invasions have made their way into radio and television stations.
Most recently, EAS devices have been a major target. To comply with FCC rules, these devices must have internet access to receive information from FEMA via IPAWS.
Security for EAS and other station devices should be a high priority for station engineers. As a result, the SBE EAS Advisory group has put together a basic security guidelines summary to aid stations in assuring that all equipment is protected from these outside intrusions.
Every week, broadcasters like you are having their station equipment and computers hacked or tampered with by outsiders or malware infections that affect station computers and networks. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, the odds are unfortunately high that it eventually will happen.
These types of intrusions are more than an inconvenience. It can cost you to repair the systems that were compromised. It can cost you revenue for lost airtime. It can cost you credibility in your audience and community. Moreover, it eventually will cost all of us if the government feels it necessary to step in with additional regulations and requirements on broadcasters.
At the same time, it’s challenging for many broadcasters to keep up with the wide range of potential cyberattacks. Many broadcasters don’t know they have become vulnerable to attackers until it’s too late.
Click HERE for complete article