NAB eases into EAS upgrades


Local broadcasters have compiled a stellar record in times of emergency. Local radio and television often are the only source of vital information for citizens in a stricken area, and stations routinely carry on operation even when wireline communications systems are knocked out of commission. The National Association of Broadcasters is helping to keep this tradition alive by fully cooperating with the FCC and the Department of Homeland Security in upgrading the Emergency Alert System.

The organization hailed the FCC's latest action on the topic, saying, "We applaud the Commission for proactive leadership in improving public warning and the Emergency Alert System, including much-needed outreach with state and local officials to ensure a robust EAS system. NAB and our member stations will continue to work closely with the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security on credentialing standards for broadcast personnel to have access during emergencies, preparedness checklists and voluntary outage reporting. We look forward to discussions on how improved digital alerting technology can be deployed to ensure that all Americans, including non-English speakers and people with disabilities, have access to emergency information."

RBR observation: Cable has little in the way of a local presence beyond its sales force and hook-up technicians, and satellite generally has no local presence other than dish retailers. The vital service emergency provided by broadcasters is unduplicated and warrants protection from unfair encroachment into local programming territory by nationally oriented services that will not have anybody around when a disaster strikes. NAB is wise to stay in the forefront of ensuring an effective broadcast emergency response now and into the future.