FCC warns not to dial up EAS tone for news report


The tone used to indicate an EAS emergency alert, or a test of the EAS system, is to be used for that purpose, and not for any other. ANY other. Not even for a bona fide and well-intentioned news story about the EAS system, warns the FCC.

Here is the message from the FCC on the topic:

“The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau reminds all media outlets not to rebroadcast the EAS tones and/or attention signal in news or other stories about the Nationwide EAS Test scheduled for November 9, 2011. Pursuant to section 11.45 of the FCC’s rules, “[n]o person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS.” 47 C.F.R. § 11.45. Any rebroadcast of the EAS tones and attention signal not only would violate FCC Rules, but also would pose a public danger because rebroadcast of the tones could trigger a false alert from EAS equipment that picks up such a rebroadcast.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We agree with this – in fact, back in our days when we logged hour upon hour of commuting time over the car-strangled spanners of  Our Nation’s Capital, we hated it when a radio commercial used a siren – we’d be looking around for an emergency vehicle until we figured out it was coming from the radio, and any such distraction in heavy traffic is not a good thing.

It of course underscores what an effective technique use of a siren is in a commercial in terms of getting a listener’s attention.

For the record, we also absolutely hate ringing phones in commercials – even if our own personal ringtones are not suggested, it still gets our attention. So here it is from us to you at no additional charge: another thing to put on the list of attention-grabbers, at least as far as we are concerned.