First nationwide Emergency Alert System test hits glitches
Washington (CNN) — Problems were reported across the country during the first-ever nationwide test Wednesday of the Emergency Alert System, designed to allow the president to address the American people during a national emergency.
Some television and radio stations did not air the planned 30-second test at all. Some that aired it stayed with the signal longer than others.
There were anecdotal reports of TV stations failing to air the message in Washington, Atlanta, New York, California and elsewhere. The message did not air on a cable channel being monitored in a Capitol Hill office and in the Capitol’s radio and TV gallery.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission, which ordered the test, stressed that it was designed to find flaws, and scoffed at reports the system had failed.
By late Wednesday afternoon, an FCC official, not authorized to speak on the record, said about one-third of the test participants had filed preliminary reports, and those showed that 80% to 90% of the stations received the alert and were able to rebroadcast it, which was the major criteria of the test.
The official called the failure rate of more than 10% “not insignificant,” but said identifying problems “is why we have the test.”
Here in SE MI on the radio, the EAS tone went off, then the message would start as the tone would then go off again in the background of the message, then the message would be played over the second message. Once that was finished, it was about 5 seconds of regular broadcasting before the EAS test went off, again, though this time in a normal manner.
Well, it’s a good thing this was found out in a test instead of during an actual nationwide emergency (like a nuclear attack). Hopefully the FCC would go through all of the data and fix all of the issues that were reported.