FCC Seeks Answers In Unauthorized EAS Warning

Following an unauthorized Emergency Alert System (EAS) warning last month, the FCC has issued an advisory to check equipment and launched an inquiry into how it happened.

In a related move, the FCC is also seeking comment on EAS security best practices implementation.

On Oct. 24, said the FCC, a syndicated radio show transmitted an EAS warning with an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) that signals a message from the President.

The FCC wants comment on the impact of unauthorized alerts on public safety, government and local agencies.

The FCC also warned that the automatic alert had a time stamp and could be queued up for a future, unauthorized transmission, which was why the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is advising EAS participants to immediately check their equipment.

Among the questions the FCC wants some answers to in comments are: "To what extent have EAS Participants been directly affected by unauthorized EAS alerts."

"Is there a difference in whether or how an unauthorized EAN or other EAS alert is received and transmitted among different types of EAS Participants (i.e., broadcast versus cable versus other types of EAS Participants)?"

"What effect, if any, do unauthorized alerts have on members of the public, including those with disabilities and those who do not speak English as a primary language?"

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.