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Nationwide Emergency Test today at 2:20 p.m. ET

Benn Kobb
 

The next Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is scheduled for today, Aug 7 2019, at 2:20 p.m. ET.

All radio and TV stations must participate. The test will not be transmitted via Wireless Emergency Alerts (mobile phones). Moreover, the test will not be distributed via the Internet so stations will have to get the originating signals directly by radio from assigned sources.

These tests tend to expose audio impairments and transmission glitches, which is why the government keeps scheduling them. Some stations 'forward' (rebroadcast) the tests immediately, some delay it and some don't do anything at all, though required by law. Stations must report their readiness and test results via three FCC forms.

The equipment required to create, obtain and forward EAS alerts is complex and requires periodic, expensive upgrades. Few manufacturers produce these devices. Among non-profit community stations, there is a desire to open-source these products, which would require approval of FCC and FEMA and, apparently, issuance of cryptographic keys to device makers.

This is only a test and no action is required of the radio and TV audience. However, the FCC has stated:

"Members of the public and interested stakeholder organizations that are in a position to observe test results in their communities can provide useful feedback on the nationwide test, including any problems observed or any complications in the delivery of the EAS message during the nationwide test by reporting their observations to the Public Safety Support Center at https://www.fcc.gov/general/public-safety-support-center."

Benn AK4AV