The FCC’s Part 11 Fifth Report and Order says that Text-To-Speech (TTS) EAS messaging will not be allowed at this time saying in so many words that the technology is not ready yet. The Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) disagrees. Here’s why. Washington State has already implemented TTS, and it works!
Details posted on the EAS Forum.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proposed rule changes for EAS that included a call for “Governor Must Carry” (GMC). GMC was put into the NOI because of broadcaster complaints that governors were not using EAS to tell traffic fleeing from events like Hurricane Ike that all highways were converted to head north. In Texas, instead of using EAS for the shuttle disaster, the governor convened a news conference where reporters asked if AMBER alerts could be used to warn people about touching pieces of the fallen shuttle. Other instances of failures to originate proper warnings are in the record. The problem is that governors do not really tell people what to do when their lives and property are threatened. That’s a job for the professionals at the National Weather Service and at local and state emergency management agencies. By the time a governor has enough information to be able to issue a personal message, harm may have already come to people at risk.
There is a new posting on the EAS Forum titled, If Not Governor Must Carry, Then What? The BWWG believes that decisions related to five points we outlined in our now moot ex parte filing should become key elements in state and local EAS planning and plans. Part of this approach should be to form stronger local and state stakeholder partnerships to improve the chances for voluntary carriage of more EAS events. To view this posting and give us your thoughts on this approach, you can go to:
I just posted a brief update related to the ex parte filing the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) made earlier today on the Governor Must Carry issue on the EAS Forum website. As most of you know, the Commission today issued their long-awaited Comments that more clearly define what the EAS will look like for the near future scant hours after we filed the BWWG ex parte comments.
If you do not know what the word “moot” means, what the FCC decided today made the BWWG ex parte filing exactly that — moot. And, in this case, moot is good.
The Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG) recently published an editorial on the governor must carry issue on the EAS Forum. < http://eas.radiolists.net/ > That editorial sparked comments from subscribers to the BWWG’s EAS Forum list server as well as our core members.
Last week the BWWG decided to file ex parte Comments with the Commission on this issue based on the belief we spelled out in the editorial that what is needed is “event-driven must carry” not “governor must carry.” Our filing is based on those comments we received.
In our ex parte Comments, we advocate a sensible “event-driven must carry” approach integrated within existing emergency management. This is a better way to accomplish the goal of better assurance that warnings will be issued without involving elected officials or their potentially untrained designees in being ready 24/7 for the legal duty, mission, and mechanics of “must carry” EAS warnings to better preserve lives and property for a public at risk.
Life saving warning messages, both weather and civil, must be delivered immediately by all possible means, without political or economic considerations that might be introduced by a “governor must carry” solution. Properly crafted, vetted, and issued timely local, state and regional life safety warnings should be “must carry” without involving any vestige of politics to get in the way.
Our ex parte Comments can be found on the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). You can easily get to the page that holds filings on the EAS issue carrying the Preceding Number 04-296 at:
< http://tinyurl.com/FCC-ECFS-2012 >
The Broadcast Warning Working Group
I suppose I should have been flattered that a statement I made about the national level of EAS was quoted in Dr. Marian Mustoe’s posting. I was not. Like some other items she cited, she took my statement out of context. First, a correction. I was the Chair of the FCC’s chartered EAS National Advisory Committee (NAC) when I made my statement, not the “FCC EAS Chair.”