Changes in FCC EAS Alert Rules Become Effective Dec 12th

The effective date of an FCC Report and Order aimed at making emergency alerts delivered over television and radio stations more informative and easier to understand by the public, particularly people with disabilities, will become effective on December 12, 2022. Compliance will be required by December 12, 2023. According to the FCC, the new rules will facilitate the increased use of the IP-based Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) format for certain types of EAS alerts. CAP-based alerts typically provide more information than the corresponding alerts delivered in legacy format. The rules will require:

  1. EAS Participants (including radio broadcasters, television broadcasters, and operators of satellite, cable TV, and wireline video services) must 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. Under existing rules, stations have a choice to send either the traditional EAS alert or the alert received through CAP. Under the new rules, stations must pass through the CAP formatted alert message.
  2. The FCC will revise the prescribed text that EAS Participants have historically used to identify certain alerts regarding national emergencies and to announce EAS tests. The prior text used technical terms that made it difficult for the public to understand.

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. By eliminating technical jargon and replacing it with plain language, The messages will be more easily understood by the public. These rule changes will enable more viewers and listeners to understand EAS alert messages and take appropriate protective actions in response to emergency situations, and thus will enhance public safety.

The FCC’s decision may be found here.