Important Updates to FCC EAS Rules

At its meeting on September 29th, the FCC adopted new rules regarding Emergency Alert Services (EAS) notices. The new rules would apply to both radio and television stations. This is part of the FCC’s ongoing effort to update all of its EAS rules. The Report and Order announced two basic changes to EAs notifications:

Use of CAP Format Notifications –  The FCC directed EAS Participants (including radio broadcasters, television broadcasters, and operators of satellite, cable TV, and wireline video services) to check whether certain types of alerts are available in CAP format and if so, to transmit the CAP version of the alert rather than the legacy-formatted version. The increased use of CAP-based alerts will produce higher-quality audio messages, improve the availability of multilingual alerts, and ensure that more of the alerts displayed on television screens contain all of the information provided by government agencies that initiate them.

Revision of Alert Texts: The FCC also revised the prescribed text that EAS Participants have historically been required to use to identify certain alerts regarding national emergencies and to announce EAS tests. The prior text specified by the rules incorporated technical terms that made it difficult for the public to understand the purpose of the message or who originated it. The new rules eliminate this technical jargon and replace it with plain language terms that the public will more easily understand. These rule changes will enable more viewers and listeners to understand EAS alert messages and take appropriate protective actions in response to emergency situations, thus will enhance public safety.

Click here for Inside Radio‘s “plain English” summary of the updated rules.

You can see the FCC Order revising the EAS rules here.