FCC Says Se; to Spanish Version of Emergency Alert System Handbook

The Federal Communications Commission will translate its Emergency Alert System handbook into Spanish, an FCC source told B&C Thursday.

In a letter to the FCC Thursday, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council and other minority advocacy organizations pointed out that the handbook was only in English and said that excluded almost 20% of the population and could affect many more if station personnel not fluent in English were on duty when it came time to issue an alert.

The FCC source said the translation had been in discussion before the MMTC sent the letter and would be available online by the beginning of March, with a print copy available on request from the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

Why not until then? He said it takes time to vet the piece and make sure that common terms translate uniformly.

"We filed our letter at 2:34 AM this morning, and the Commission said this afternoon that a Spanish translation will be available online in March," said MMTC counsel David Honig. "We’d raised the matter informally with the agency, but even that was just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, it just took them five years to grant an indecency complaint.  There’s hope for the agency yet!"

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.