Pols Back Satellite EAS

Almost two dozen legislators have written to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to ask that satellite radio be required to deliver emergency information to its subscribers.

The FCC has an open proceeding into proposed changes to its Emergency Alert System, including applying it to digital TV stations as well as analog. Martin is hoping to unveil new EAS proposals this month.

Emergency alerts and emergency communications have been under a spotlight in Washington in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. "Recent events, such as Hurricane Katrina, have highlighted the critical importance of having an effective Emergency Alert System that reaches all Americans," the legislators said.

The group of congressmen, which included House Commerce Committee members Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), wrote that "just because a provider is a new competitive entrant offering a new service or using a new technology, that should not absolve service providers from upholding certain public obligations."

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.