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E-mail Storm Ensues

November EAS RMT Not Sent

The November 4, 1998 Regular Monthly EAS Test was not sent by KOGO as scheduled. An thought-provoking thread ensued on the SD_EAS mail group. The following were the best of the crop. Note that messages were edited only to remove e-mail addresses and redundant information. If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to the group, visit the BROADCAST.NET  subscription page

From: Jeff Williams 
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 1998 4:00 PM 
Subject: [SD_EAS] November RMT 

Due to an internal problem (one which I will not elaborate on) the LP-1
was not able to send out the scheduled RMT. It is stated in our local
plan that a make-up RMT will occur at the same time one week later. Plan
on next Wednesday, November 11 to receive an RMT between 2:45-2:50 p.m.

I'm sorry for this inconvenience.


Subject: RE: [SD_EAS] November RMT
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 19:36:13 -0500
Sender: Oscar Medina


I can't emphasize how disatorous blowing a test is for EAS.

In our case, KNSD preempts a commercial to run the RMT. When the test is
blown, we are forced to put in a PSA or Promo as a spot cannot be
inserted into the, now open, avail.

Running the test the following week, forces us to drop another
commercial. I'm fairly certain the other tv stations are doing something

I would suggest that instead of running the RMT a week late, it simply
be cancelled until the following month and all the stations will simply
log the failure to receive the test from the LP1.

You are quite literally costing all the radio and tv stations money. A
failed test not only give EAS a black eye, it costs everyone income.


From: John A. Buffaloe
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 1998 8:36 AM
Subject: [SD_EAS] Comments on failed EAS

Hi Jeff,

First of all, my kudos to you for taking on such a monumental task as
organizing the EAS operations for San Diego. It's one of those jobs
nobody wants and everybody criticizes. The way this system operates,
it's going to cause problems when something doesn't go exactly as
planned. I personally believe the tests should not be pre-arranged. The
point of having this system is to be able to respond and act in an
unforeseen situation. The system itself is inherently flawed in that it
doesn't readily or easily accommodate the type of response or operation
for which it was intended. By planning our monthly tests, we are simply
putting on a show for the FCC. We are training our operators to react
only to known activation's. We are accommodating our General Managers
and Traffic departments in their quest to squeeze every dollar out of
inventory. We are not improving our system of informing the public as
was intended. I submit that we have degraded that ability to the point
of! nonexistence.

My stations have successfully handled every single test of the system as
long as I have taken the responsibility of warning them that one was
coming at a specific time, reminding them of the procedures for
retransmission, and in most cases standing with them and telling them
which buttons to push and when. As my own experiment, I did none of the
above last month, and not one of my stations (the Disney automated
station excepted) got the test out. I didn't get a single phone call. We
have created this situation by providing our operators with advance
notice and remedial instruction on a monthly basis. I'll not denigrate
my operators, as I suspect it is the same at all or most of the

I have stated publicly that this is a system that will not work and I
stand by that. I believe the public will be best informed during an
emergency by the broadcasters whose business and interest it is to do
so. A system capable of recording an NWS alert and retransmitting
garbled audio is not that impressive of an achievement, particularly
given the likelihood that it won't be retransmitted at all for any
number of reasons by most of the facilities charged with doing so.

As engineers, if we are to make this flawed system work, then I think a
test should be just that. They should arrive unannounced at all hours of
the day. I would propose that they be logged as received and not
retransmitted. We can certainly ensure that our equipment is capable of
retransmission without going through the monthly dog and pony show. When
and if an actual, useable activation occurs, it should be our
responsibility to get it retransmitted.

I know what I suggest is contrary to the FCC rules, but perhaps by
having unplanned, truly random tests that interrupt regular programming
we can get the attention of the owners, who can then have their FCC
counsel and lobbyists go to the FCC for a system that will work. Maybe
they'll even consult some station engineers next time.

Have a good day Jeff.

John Buffaloe

From: Alfredo Pogue, KGTV
To: ""
Subject: RE: [SD_EAS] Comments on failed EAS
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 09:21:30 -0800

Can you take me off the mailing list please. Thank you.

Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 09:17:59
From: June Butler
Subject: [SD_EAS] Failed RMT on 11/4/98

By now everyone knows the scheduled RMT didn't air.  I spoke with the
FCC's Director of Emergency Communications (Frank Lucia) concerning
this matter.  He advised that in the event that an RMT doesn't air, a radio
station can run an RWT in its place and log that the LP1 didn't air the RMT.
Please indicate in your logs that the LP-1 reported a technical difficulty
and run an RWT this week.  Jeff has also agreed that another RMT will
not be aired this month.

It is up to every broadcast station licensee to assure that their radio
operators are trained to run RWTs and RMTs.  If a station arbitrarily
chooses not to run the tests, or the actual EAS warnings (which may be
run in place of tests) as spelled out in the local plan, a station may be
subject to violation notices or monetary forfeitures.

Jeff Williams and Oscar Medina are to be commended for their role in
making EAS work in San Diego.

June E. Butler
Compliance Specialist
4542 Ruffner St., Rm. 370
San Diego, CA 92111-2216

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Edited by Gary Stigall. Updated 05-Nov-98.