2711 Middleburg Drive
Columbia, SC 29201
2019 STAR Awards
Saturday, August 17th
Hilton Columbia Center
6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets
and additional information.
MAY 2019 SCBA MIDDLEBURG MATTERS
TO TAKE A LOOK AT OUR MAY NEWSLETTER
SCHOLARSHIP NOW AVAILABLE
Reporting Workshop for
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Sept. 13
TEACHING DATE: Oct. 13-16
LOCATION: The Poynter Institute
For additional information please click here.
Posted May 29, 2019
By Lauren Lynch Flick
Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) formally notified the FCC that FEMA has scheduled the next nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for August 7, 2019 at 2:20 p.m. FEMA states that this year's test will differ from the nationwide tests that have been conducted over the past several years in that it will be issued through the National Public Warning System, composed of FEMA-designated Primary Entry Point facilities, to test the readiness of the EAS to function in the absence of Internet connectivity.
In other words, the August test is dependent on the ability of EAS to operate without a 'net, reaching EAS Participants solely by over-the-air means. The initial report from FEMA and the FCC following the 2018 Nationwide EAS Test noted that almost 60% of participants received the test announcement first via the Internet-oriented Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a significant increase from 41.9% in 2017.
Also unique this year is the timing of FEMA's announcement. For the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tests, FEMA and the FCC announced the date of the proposed test in July and held the test in September with an October backup date. As a result, the 2019 test will be performed significantly earlier in the year compared to prior tests. The choice of this date is interesting in that it falls at the end of peak tornado season for much of the Midwest, and the beginning of peak hurricane season in the Southeast. Last year's test was postponed to the backup date in October because of Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in September. This year's date may, however, present a challenge to full participation in the test by student-run college stations, which may not operate during summer recess.
In terms of related regulatory obligations, broadcasters have generally been required to file an FCC Form One 30 days in advance of the actual test. That filing is usually followed by a Form Two filing on the day of the test and then a Form Three filing 45 days after the test. The exact information sought on the forms often varies year-to-year, but the filing system itself has found a permanent home on the FCC's electronic EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). ETRS has not yet been updated to provide information for the 2019 Nationwide EAS Test, so the required forms (including submission due dates), updates in requested information, and any changes to the way in which the forms are to be filed have not yet been made available.
Being so broadcast station-dependent, this year's test will place an even brighter spotlight on radio and TV stations, as any failures in receiving and relaying the National Periodic Test announcement may be laid at the feet of broadcasters. Stations should therefore be alert to the imminent announcement of filing due dates and other information surrounding this year's Nationwide EAS Test.
Stations should also take this opportunity to ensure that their EAS equipment is not obsolete, is fully installed, is in working order, is set to monitor the correct EAS sources, and has had the latest software updates downloaded and installed. It would also be a good time to review EAS procedures with station staff to avoid past problems such as continuing to run program audio behind the test message. Each of these were identified as points of failure in FEMA's reports following the prior Nationwide EAS Tests.
Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP)
ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON AN IMPORTANT SCBA MEMBER BENEFIT? IS YOUR STATION DUE FOR AN ABIP INSPECTION?
- All SCBA member stations can participate in this FCC-endorsed voluntary inspection.
- Completing the ABIP insures a station that it is in compliance with FCC regulations.
- Stations holding ABIP certificates are exempt from routine FCC inspections for a period of three years.
How It Works:
- To enroll in the program, contact the SCBA office at 803-732-1186 or email@example.com.
- SCBA will forward a contract with an estimated inspection date.
- Stations must return the signed contract with payment prior to the inspection.
- Upon successful completion of the inspection, stations are issued a certificate that is posted in the station and the FCC is notified of the certification.
- If the station does not pass inspection, a grace period of 150 days from the date on the contract is provided to allow the station to make necessary corrections to successfully complete the inspection.
- Stations may choose to notify the FCC when they enroll in the program, and immediately begin the immunity protection. Or they may choose not to notify the FCC of their enrollment, in which case the station has no protection from inspection.
All stations should take advantage of this valuable service. Be certain your station is in compliance and immune from routine FCC inspection.
If your station currently holds an ABIP certificate, check the renewal date and schedule your next inspection well in advance to avoid any lapse in immunity.
Important Reminder: Activate and/or Update
Your Online Public Inspection File
As of March 1, 2018, all radio and television stations were required to transition their public inspection file to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) online public file system. However, despite the year-old deadline, a substantial number of broadcasters have not yet activated their online public file or have failed to keep their public file up-to-date.
These stations are at risk of substantial FCC fines. While the FCC has emailed warning notices to some stations, we strongly urge you not to wait for an FCC notice. Stations should immediately confirm that they are complying with the FCC’s rules.
Ensuring that your station’s online public file is online and complete takes on added importance as we enter the license renewal cycle. Renewal applications require stations to either certify that their public file has been complete and up-to-date at all times during the license term or disclose violations. In addition to substantial fines, an incomplete online public file can lead to extensive delays in the license renewal process.
Of particular concern is the failure to upload the quarterly issues/programs lists, which demonstrate how a station has addressed the needs and interests of its community. These lists must be placed in each station’s online public file on a quarterly basis, going back to the start of the current 8-year license term. Failure to comply can be extremely costly. The FCC recently fined five radio stations $10,000 to $12,000 each for lacking copies of the issues/programs lists in their online public files. In addition to the issues/programs lists, stations should promptly upload their annual EEO public file reports, children’s television reports, political broadcasting information, and all other required materials.
If you have questions, please contact your station’s legal counsel or the NAB legal department at 866.682.0276.
IMPORTANT JUNE-AUGUST DEADLINES:
By Frank Montero on Feb 06, 2019 01:40 pm
Last month I participated in a webinar with my colleague Dan Kirkpatrick where we addressed the issue of advertising controversial products. While the topic of marijuana advertising (which we discussed in our webinar) gets much attention these days–especially with the recent decision by CBS to turn down a cannabis ad for the Super Bowl–we also...… Continue Reading
2019 New OPCONs
Contact: Derrec Becker or Kim McLeod
Phone: 803-737-8500 | Social: @SCEMD
State, Counties Update Operational Condition Levels
Columbia, S.C. (Thursday, May 9, 2019) – Prior to the start of the 2019 Hurricane Season, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, in coordination with county emergency management officials, is updating the state’s emergency operational condition levels, or OPCONs. Now, agencies will coordinate, prepare and respond to major emergencies based on three levels of readiness instead of five.
The new levels are designed to simplify the steps agencies take in order to fully activate emergency resources. The three OPCONs and their definitions are more compatible with the majority of state and federal emergency management organizations nationwide, making the state’s processes and procedures easier to understand for teams deploying into South Carolina during a disaster.
The OPCONs and their definitions are now as follows (infographic with specific colors can be found here):
OPCON THREE - Normal Daily Operations
Agencies coordinate, plan, train and exercise as warranted. Incidents are monitored by the State Warning Point and local emergency managers.
OPCON TWO - Enhanced Awareness
A disaster or emergency is likely to affect the state. Emergency Operations Plans are implemented. The State Emergency Operations Center is partially activated if necessary.
OPCON ONE - Full Alert
A disaster or emergency is imminent or occurring. The State Emergency Operations Center is fully activated. All agency personnel are activated or available for activation.
“Residents can expect to see a streamlining in the way we activate state and local resources, particularly the state and local emergency operations centers,” says SCEMD Director Kim Stenson. “The new system brings us more in line with how other states operate and simplifies the steps we take before a major emergency is in full effect.”
All State Emergency Response Team agencies and county emergency managers in all 46 counties have instituted the new OPCON levels.
For questions regarding the new OPCONs, please contact Derrec Becker or Kim Mcleod at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 737-8500.
Derrec Becker, SC CEM
Chief of Public Information & External Affairs
South Carolina Emergency Management Division
Mobile: 803.530.2193 | Office: 803.737.8500
Online: scemd.org | Social: @SCEMD
"South Carolina's emergency management program minimizes loss of life and property damage from all-hazard incidents."