Random Noise – November 2014

November 16, 2014
Dennis Thompson

Dennis Thompson

Well I didn’t hear any local fallout from the erroneous  EAS/EAN alert message transmitted on a syndicated talk show that could have triggered a false alert at 11AM on Novmeber 9th.  The alert message was a rebroadcast of the genuine nationwide EAN test conducted on November 9, 2011.The false alert was repeated several times during a national syndicated radio program on October 24, and then rebroadcast over multiple stations that carried the syndicated program, and then further transmitted to broadcast stations and cable head-ends throughout the Eastern and Central Time Zones. An EAN code triggers the highest level of EAS alert, specifically, a nationwide activation of the EAS system which is intended for activation only by the president. Because the false alert was encoded with a date/time of November 9, it was thought that it could possibly remain stored in the cache of a stations EAS encoder/decoder, and be rebroadcast.  Here is a recap of what the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that all EAS Participants take the following actions to prevent similar occurrences in the future:

  1. Review the settings on your EAS equipment to verify that your equipment is configured to NOT FORWARD any EAS messages with a header that does not match the current date and time.
  2. Remind all personnel of the implications of including EAS tones in a broadcast, as well as content providers. The FCC’s rules prohibiting the transmission of false or simulated EAS tones apply to any person, not just broadcast licensees.
  3. Check with your EAS equipment manufacturer to ensure that your equipment is up to date with new patches.
  4. Use strong passwords for any broadcast equipment that is accessible from the Web.
  5. Use firewalls to prevent unauthorized Web-access to broadcast equipment.

This isn’t the first time this has happened and one wonders if the FCC has a plan, besides the obvious fines, to keep it from happening yet again.  One suggestion is to have preventative equipment that would prevent EAS tones from being sent from syndicators or other suppliers of programs and program elements for broadcasters. This might be a slight bit easier than creating the equipment that would  prevent a wardrobe malfunction from being televised in a live event.

Hey, I just found out that watching the webcast of the SBE National Membership Meeting can be used toward re-certification credit. Here’s the link if you need it: SBE MEETING

The SBE 66 November meeting ( happening sooner than you think) is a week early due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Meet the SBE 66 gang at the Clovis HomeTown Buffet on Thursday November 20, at noon for lunch.  We’ll be meeting at the tables just outside the banquet room. Be sure to pay as you enter, see you there.

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