The following are questions that were raised in regards to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Emergency Alert System (EAS) requirements. You can find the rules listed under Section 11 of the FCC’s Rules and Regulations portion of the website. If you have any additional questions, please contact the FCC’s toll-free call center at (888) 225-5322.
EAS testing will be performed on a weekly basis and each station must receive and transmit one test every week. The tests consist of a Required Weekly Test and a Required Monthly Test.
Required Weekly Test [See 11.61 (a)(2)]
The Required Weekly Test consists of the EAS header codes and End of Message codes. A brief announcement may be used to introduce the test. This test will take approximately 10 seconds to conduct. Each station may transmit the weekly test at any time during the week. There is no requirement to retransmit a weekly test upon receipt. Therefore, stations may schedule broadcasts of weekly tests at their convenience.
Required Monthly Test [See 11.61 (a)(1)]
The Required Monthly Test consists of the following:
- the EAS header codes;
- at least eight seconds of the twotone attention signal;
- an audio test script; and
- the End of Message codes.
The monthly test can last up to 30 seconds. Monthly tests are originated by the local primary station or state primary stations. Monthly tests will be conducted between 8:30 a.m. and local sunset on odd numbered months and between local sunset and 8:30 a.m. on even numbered months. Unlike the weekly test, the monthly test must be retransmitted within 15 minutes of receipt. There is no need to send a weekly test during the week that a monthly test is performed.
There are no exceptions to the rule unless there is an equipment failure. However, the monthly test should be prescheduled so that everyone knows when it is coming. Therefore, stations with long playing formats will be able to plan around the monthly test.