Shaping radio today and tomorrow

February 1, 2004


Do you remember?

On February 21, 1971, the National Warning Center at the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado accidentally transmitted an Emergency Action Notification (EAN) message instead of the scheduled test message. The EAN message was sent at the time of a regularly scheduled test, and was sent over the AP and UPI wire services, which NORAD could control for EBS purposes. The EAN message was supposed to be issued to the industry network control points only when the President activated the national-level EBS.

A study of the event followed. The investigation revealed that some stations thought the message was a mistake because it was issued at the same time as the routine NORAD weekly wire service test message. Many broadcast stations did not immediately respond to the EAN message as required by the FCC EBS rules. Others searched for confirmation from other sources such as the major networks but could find none. Some stations simply failed to hear the wire service alarm or see the printed wire copy message. Some stations actually aired the message.

In 1972, the government, in cooperation with the National Industry Advisory Committee (NIAC), corrected deficiencies they found as a result of the NORAD error. Their corrective actions were to:

  • Remove the "Attack Warning" function from EBS. This action removed NORAD as an activator of the national-level EBS, leaving the President as the sole activator the national-level EBS.

  • Revise and simplify the EBS instructions issued by the FCC such as the Part 73 EBS rules, EBS Checklists, EBS National Control Procedures and Authenticator Lists.

  • Improve the activation and authentication procedures.


That was then

Ramko ran an ad in 1981 for its Phase Master cart machine, which included an electronic system to "eliminate phase shift and time-consuming calibration procedures" that did not move the machine's heads. In addition, it could record, play and duplicate carts and cassettes.

The picture in the ad showed Johnny P. Shift, the morning DJ at K-FAZ explaining to station manager Uncle Bobby that the radio station's sound is terrible.

Also included with the ad and bound into the magazine was a flexible sound sheet record named "The Worst of K-FAX Radio starring Johnny Shift."




Sample and Hold

The trends shaping radio


In-car radio listening levels are up, while work and home levels erode.

Radio listening levels at work and at home have dropped slowly over the past few years, perhaps due to the emergence of new media and entertainment options such as the Internet and video games.



Source: Arbitron Inc./Edison Media Research
Note: Data expressed in AQH ratings, 12+.



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