State Legislature and broadcasters
Our state legislature has been spending a lot of time this session attempting to balance the state budget. Of particular interest to the broadcast community, the legislature has also proposed a bill to reduce metal theft. Because the broadcast industry has been one of the high profile victims of copper theft from transmitter sites, the bill has provided for a representative from the SECC and another from the broadcast industry. Your editor has been designated as one of the two representatives.
The metal theft problem has been a big problem for some broadcasters. Recently, an AM station in Florida went off the air when thieves stole $30,000 worth of copper grounding straps around two of their three towers.
Puget Sound Energy has been a leader in using high tech methods to reduce the copper theft problems in their power substations. Dave Foster, Manager of Corporate Security for PSE will be speaking on how the utility has been dealing with the copper theft problem at our August 9th luncheon meeting.
Following the death of WSP trouper Radulescu, the Washington legislature adopted the “Blue Alert” notification system. The bill establishes a “Blue Alert” for notification of the media and the public when a law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously injured by an act of a violent criminal. The Blue Alert will not be an activation of the Emergency Alert System. However, the Blue Alert can be distributed on the CAP network.
EAS CAP Deadline Approaching
Text to speech (TTS) has been one the valuable enhancements developed for the newly mandated CAP enabled EAS system. Unfortunately, the TTS capability was banned in the FCC’s recent Report & Order on EAS. . The commission cited concerns about whether TTS is sufficiently accurate for warning use and feels that different TTS software could produce differing audio messages from the same EAS message.
At the prompting of the Broadcast Warning Working Group (BWWG), FEMA has requested the FCC reconsider its position and allow TTS technology when no CAP audio file is provided in the EAS message. FEMA says that “unintended consequences may cause a CAP-EAS device to interrupt the alert and convey only the tones with no actual message.
Meanwhile, the June 30 deadline for broadcasters to implement their CAP compliant EAS gear is approaching. Our April 9 SBE luncheon speaker will be Bill Robertson of Monroe Electronics, manufacturer of DASDEC EAS equipment.
NAB 2012 Las Vegas
The National Association of Broadcasters Convention is upon us, April 14 to April 19. Your editor will be attending to report on the latest broadcast news including latest on the EAS CAP implementation and possible resolution of the Text-to-speech controversy. I will post the latest in real time from the convention on www.sbe16.org .