The Emergency Alert System

The Emergency Alert System


The Emergency Alert System

All radio stations in the US are connected to EAS , the Emergency Alert System, a network that can be activated in case of emergency. The country is broken down into regions; each region is assigned a Common Program Control Station (CPCS-1) which broadcasts all tests and actual alerts. The rest of the stations in the region are obligated to monitor the CPCS-1 for alerts and are known as Primary Stations. WKCRis a Primary Station assigned to monitor the CPCS-1 station WFAN (660 AM).We monitor our CPCS-1 station using the EAS 911 system, located in the Tech Room.


The EAS equipment is responsible for the familiar testing signals.

To make sure the system is working properly, the FCC requires all stations to transmit and log an EAS test at least once a week, and there is another series of tests every month. WKCR maintains an EAS log on the Operating
Log located in Master Control.

Weekly Tests.

Weekly tests are scheduled by the Chief Engineer. If you are asked to run one during your show, you should:

  • Go on mic and say, "This is WKCR-FM New York. We are conducting a test of EAS, the Emergency Alert System."
  • Turn off the mic while the Chief Engineer generates the test signal,consisting of 6 data bursts, 3 long and 3 short.
  • Take the EAS printout and clip it to the Operating Log. Then, enter your initials and the exact time in the "Test Sent" portion of the log. 
  • Resume normal programming. 

Monthly Tests.

Monthly tests are received randomly from WFAN. When a test is received, the speaker and printer on the EAS 911 unit will all switch on to alert you, and the "Manual Fwd" button will flash. Here's what you should
do:

  • Walk over to the EAS machine as soon as possible. Confirm that you have received a monthly test by reading the printout. It is an actual monthly test if and only if it begins with the words: "A required monthly test has been received…" 
  • Within 15 minutes of receiving the test, prepare to transmit it. Interrupt programming and announce, "This is WKCR-FM, New York. We are conducting a test of EAS, the Emergency Alert System."
  • Press the "Manual FWD" button on the EAS generator. The generator will transmit three short data bursts followed by the old EBS tone and then the announcement regarding the tests from our monitored station. This will be followed by three more short data bursts. 
  • Take the EAS printout and clip it to the Operating Log. Then, enter your initials and the exact time in the "Test Sent" portion of the log. 
  • Resume normal programming. 

In Case of an Actual Emergency.

In case of an emergency, the speaker, printer, and monitor of the EAS machine will switch on just as they would for a monthly test. WKCR is required by federal law only to respond to national emergencies. If the EAS print out includes the words "National Emergency," you should proceed in the following manner:

  • Find the EAS handbook, a blue folder which should be located on
    top of the rack in master control. There used to be a spot where there was
    a pink authenticator envelope with a list of activation and termination codes for every month, but the authenticator code system has been eliminated. Assume that any EAS printout containing the words "National Emergency" is genuine. 
  • Enter the exact time and your initials in the "Actual Activation" section of the operating log. 
  • Follow the EAS Handbook's special instructions for broadcasting
    an actual emergency alert.
  • When the emergency is over, you will receive a termination message over the EAS machine. Enter the exact time and your initials in the "Actual Termination" section of the operating log. 
  • Clip the EAS printouts from activation and termination to the Operating Log. 
  • Resume normal programming.

If you receive a state or local emergency activation message, you are not required to do anything. If the message seems serious, you are free to announce it over the air, but you are not required to interrupt your normal programming or to log EAS Activation. Also, if a weekly test is ever broadcast over the EAS unit, do not acknowledge it. The only weekly tests we broadcast are the ones scheduled by the Chief Engineer.

 Take note: messages from the National Weather Service count as local even thought the word "National" appears in the title. Ignore the National Weather Service.


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