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FCC Proposes New EAS Event Code and Adding 13 Additional Languages to Alerts

February 23, 2024

EAS logoIn the past week, the FCC has proposed some updates to the current EAS system.  On Wednesday (2/21), Radio World reported that FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is proposing adding a new event code to the EAS system for missing and endangered persons.  This would be those who would not qualify for an Amber Alert.

Rosenworcel said, “Law enforcement agencies successfully use AMBER Alerts on TV and radio to help mobilize public attention and recover abducted children. But we do not have a similar code in the Emergency Alert System dedicated to sounding the alarm over other missing and endangered persons, particularly the thousands of missing native and indigenous women who have disappeared from their homes never to be seen again.”

She is working with Senator Ben Ray Luján on the issue. The FCC quoted him saying that violence against Native people is a crisis. “The federal government must take more decisive action to properly notify their loved ones and locate these individuals to keep families together.”

The FCC will vote at their March meeting on the proposal to create a "MEP" code.  If passed, it would go out for public comment.

Also this week, RadioInk reports that the FCC, at their February meeting, announced that it is moving to add 13 new languages to EAS. While the Emergency Alert System currently permits alerts in languages other than English, the overwhelming majority are broadcast solely in English. The FCC says this leaves the more than 26 million US residents who report limited or no English proficiency at a disadvantage during critical times.

To combat this, the NPRM introduces pre-scripted, template alert messages and prerecorded audio files in the 13 most commonly spoken non-English languages in the US. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

It would become mandatory for EAS participants, like broadcasters and cable providers, to transmit in the appropriate language matching their content.

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