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LPFM Waiver on New EAS Reporting Duty Requested

In November 2017 LPFM  an advocacy group petitioned the FCC for relief to LPFM radio stations concerning meeting new multilingual EAS reporting requirements.

Citing low publicity surrounding an order adopted by the FCC in March 2016  and lack of input from LPFM stations, REC Networks has  filed a motion for either a blanket waiver or extension of time for LPFMs.

Currently the FCC has established that all EAS participants must report some EAS details to their State Emergency Communications Committees by Nov. 6. The information includes:

  • Description of any actions taken by the EAS participant to make EAS alert content available in languages other than English to its non-English speaking audiences; and
  • Description of any future actions planned by the EAS participant to provide EAS alert content in languages other than English to its non-English speaking audiences, as well as an explanation of the decision to plan/not plan such actions.

 

A separate reporting requirement due by Nov. 13, known as Form Three,  should detail the results of the most recent National EAS Test.

In REC Networks’ filing, REC illustrated that not only are LPFM stations not required to follow the same regulatory requirements as full-service broadcast stations, but the LPFM community is not represented by any single national membership organization to provide advice or legislative support on matters such as these. LPFM stations often are operated by small churches and small public sector organizations without significant support or professional, experienced staff, said Michelle Bradley, REC Networks founder.

REC Networks noted that insufficient notice was given about the upcoming deadline. Details on the new requirement, which comes in the form of a Compliance Guide, did not appear in any FCC Daily Digest publication in August 2017. Bradley said that most single-station LPFM organizations depend on the Daily Digest and the LPFM page at the media bureau to be informed of policy related communications from the commission. The item was released on Aug. 15, 2017.

“Because of the current nature of the LPFM service, the service’s actual role in EAS and the lack of publicity by the commission surrounding this proceeding …, it is REC’s position that a waiver of this reporting requirement by LPFM stations or in the alternate, an extension of time would be in the public interest,” Bradley said.

As of Nov. 1, the FCC has not issued a response to the waiver request. LPFM stations can access information about their local A List of SECCs and EAS plans on the FCC’s website.

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