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Daja vu: 2017 National EAS Test with New Requirements  

Last fall CCB spent hundreds of hours helping more than 70 broadcasters throughout the United States comply with the FCC's then-new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).  A few LPFM operators naively assumed that if they struggled through the 2016 Test they that would never be bothered with another National Test.  Fortunately most broadcasters realized that the question was not "if" but "when."

After using the ETRS just once in September 2016, FEMA and the FCC are changing things again . . . and making the process more complex.  All broadcasters must register in the COmmission REgistration System (CORES) system and then link that to their updated ETRS.  While this process might appear simple to some, the new procedure has not be fully documented or Beta tested and detailed instructions are incomplete. The user names and passwords from the 2016 filing are no longer valid.

CCB has already made some suggestions which the FCC plans to implement.  Don't waste your time trying to re-invent the wheel.  Let CCB help you now, whether we helped you last year or not, we are accepting new clients.  The FCC set an August 28 deadline for the new ETRS Form 1 but at the last minute extended it.  CCB is accepting new clients who need professional assistance.

For additional information or fees phone John Broomall at 770 720-1037

REQUIREMENTS

ETRS is the online system in which EAS Participants must file identifying information, day-of-test data, and post-test data related to a nationwide test.  ETRS provides several new features that ease the data-entry burden on EAS Participants, encourage timely filings, and minimize input errors.

All broadcasters, including LPFM, must receive and re-transmit weekly, monthly, and National Tests, keep a written record, and have a personalized copy of the new 2017 EAS handbook.  To avoid possible fines if an FCC Inspector shows up, be prepared to hand him or her a file with your EAS records.  Be certain that your contact information is current, both your contact number for National Test purposes and if the FCC needs to reach your station when no operator is on duty, that information is needed as well.  Being reachable is mandatory whenever you are on the air which means 24/7 for most stations.

SPECIAL CHALLENGES

Based on changes in EAS regulations last July, all EAS units had to be updated or replaced.  Many Low Power broadcasters have older EAS units which were barely legal when they were purchased but were obsolete when the rules changed.  For example a Sage Gray is now worthless while updates to the Sage Blue are free.

Last September the FCC expected broadcasters to answer "Yes" on Form Two, meaning the National Test was successfully received and re-transmitted, submitting the details on Form Three.  If a station had a compliant EAS, properly installed, with a knowledgeable operator, answering all the questions should have been easy.

CCB advised clients having problems with the Test to contact their local engineer and/or the Tech Support for the make equipment they use, i.e. Digital Alert (Monroe Electronics), Gorman-Redlich, Sage, or Trilithic.  Some problems were caused "upstream" through no fault of the LPFM.  Ideally, Form Three should have included the reason why the test failed and the solution.  For example, "Test failed because station had an obsolete Sage Gray.  Solved problem by purchasing and installing a Sage Blue."

Some LPFM operators honestly answered, "we did not receive or re-transmit the Test" and indicated they did not know what the problem was. They stated "we don't plan any further action unless we are contacted by the FCC."  If the test fails again this year, the problem must be corrected.  Failure to participate properly for two years in a row could make the FCC very unhappy and result in a substantial fine.  Fines are never fine!

DEADLINES

September 27 2:20 pm EDT National Test - Form One updates/corrections and Form Two must be filed before midnight.
(Based on emergencies  i.e. a hurricane, the Test could be delayed a week to October 4.) 
November 13 - Deadline for filing
detailed post-test data on Form Three.

Call or email CCB if you need any type assistance with your LPFM station.

   LPFM SCORECARD

                2013 LPFM Window 

Applications Filed 2,794
Dismissed/Cancelled/Lapsed __828
Net applications 1,966
On Air / Licensed 1245
Unbuilt Construction Permits 381
Accepted for Filing 6
Net Total 1,632
              2000-2001 LPFM Window 
Applications Filed 3258
Dismissed  1926
CPs Granted 1328
CPs Lapsed / cancelled 425
Total Licensed 907
License cancelled 129
Licensed and Silent      15
Licensed / on air 778

     See Recnet.com for detailed scorecard

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Christian Community Broadcasters 2017 | All Rights Reserved   (770) 720-1037      JohnBroomall @Yahoo.com