National EAS Test: How Did You Do?
Nov 9, 2011 2:12 PM, By Chriss Scherer, editor
Nov 9, 2011 - The national EAS test has been run. I watched one TV station and listened to two radio stations live, and I recorded two TV stations on my DVR.
The audio message was included, but there were EAS tone bursts and attention signals throughout the audio feed on the stations I monitored. For most EAS units, this muted the test audio.
The two radio stations (owned by Cumulus and Wilks) both ran the test successfully. The announcer on the Wilks station mentioned the test was coming up in a few minutes and played a song leading into it. The Cumulus station rolled right into the test. Both had fair audio levels, although the audio message was a lower level. Actively monitoring three feeds at once was a challenge, but I think both radio stations aired the test audio.
The TV station I watched live was a PBS affiliate. The station posted a slide noting it was an EAS test and stood ready for the test, which aired fine as far as I could tell.
The two stations I recorded on my DVR were not so successful on their tests. (I assume their FCC report will reflect this.) Both stations had news programs leading up to the test, and both made mention of what would be coming. Both showed an EAS test slide and waited.
One TV station did not air the test at all. The slide showed on the screen in silence. After about 1.5 minutes, the shot cut to the news team where one host said, "And that was it." That was not it.
The other TV station aired the EAS header tones and the attention signal. The screen crawl showed the EAN text. There was no test audio and there were no EOM tones, so I assume the station aborted their EAS unit and returned to programming. Just before this station aired the test, I heard some very low-level EAS header and attention tones, which sounded like bleed from the receiver.
After some additional investigation, the test signal had multiple iterations of the alert tones and attention signal, which seem to have overridden lots of station EAS units.
Was it a perfect test? For the two radio stations I listened to, it seemed to work ok. Two of the three TV stations have some investigating to do. Nationally, I consider the test successful because it has shown where the problems are. That was the purpose of the test in the first place.
Some sources have told Radio magazine that another test may be scheduled around the middle of 2012.
How did your station fare? Leave a comment below to let us know.