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Reminder: New EAS Equipment and Reporting Requirements to Take Effect

July 7, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has imposed new operational and reporting requirements on participants in the Emergency Alert System (EAS), both of which will take effect this summer. By July 30, 2016, EAS Participants must enact procedures that will enable processing and transmission of the national location code and the new National Periodic Test event code. Then, by August 26, 2016, EAS Participants will be required to submit their identifying information to the FCC using the new EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

For the first requirement, EAS Participants must ensure by July 30, 2016 that their EAS equipment is:

  1. capable of processing the new “six zeroes” national location code (000000) for nationwide EAS tests and EAS alerts; and
  2. capable of processing a National Periodic Test (NPT) event code.

The NPT code shares the priority and two minute time limit of all other event codes. EAS Participants must retransmit messages with the NPT code immediately upon receipt.

For the second requirement, EAS Participants must complete ETRS Form One by August 26, 2016. To register for the ETRS, broadcasters should visit https://www.fcc.gov/eform/submit/etrs-registration. The registration page seeks information about the licensee’s legal name, contact information for the person completing the registration form, and the licensee’s Federal Registration Number (FRN) and FRN password. Licensees that are owned by a parent company will provide this information on Form One.

Once registered, a licensee can access the ETRS here.  To complete Form One, licensees will need to provide information about the participant type (radio broadcaster, TV broadcaster, etc.), facility ID number, call sign, city of licensure, state of licensure, ownership, transmitter location, and EAS responsibilities. EAS Participants also must provide information about their EAS equipment along with the filer’s contact information and a “day-of-test” contact. Licensees with multiple facilities can designate a “coordinator” with access to all facilities by sending an e-mail to ETRS@fcc.gov.

EAS Participants will have until September 26, 2016 to correct any information in Form One.

ETRS Form Two will require EAS Participants to submit “day-of-test” data within 24 hours of a nationwide test, and Form Three will require EAS Participants to submit post-test data within 45 days of a nationwide test. The FCC will provide additional information about Forms Two and Three at a later date.

Please contact the Wiley Rein attorney who regularly handles your FCC matters or one of the attorneys listed on this alert with any questions.