Weekly Tech Reminders: EAS, PC Optimization and More FCC Rules

An excerpt from this week’s Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes
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The following is excerpted from the Alabama Broadcasters Association's weekly e-newsletter, Monday Morning Coffee and Technical Notes. Thanks to Larry Wilkins, who puts together the content and has shared it with Radio magazine readers. To subscribe to the newsletter, send an email to lwilkins@al-ba.com, and he will add you to the database.


As a reminder, FEMA will send a National EAS test on Sept. 20 at 2:20 p.m. (EDT). The test will be fed via IPAWS.

Stations are encouraged to verify that their EAS units are communicating correctly with the IPAWS server. Review your Station Logs (which should be checked once each week by the chief operator) to ascertain that you are receiving the Required Weekly Test from IPAWS. This RWT is fed every Monday at 11 a.m. local time.

Special note...since all EAS equipment is set to poll the IPAWS server (normally every 30 seconds) it is possible that you may receive the National Test from one of your two required monitor sources, instead of the IPAWS server. Engineers should check the audio level and quality of the required monitor sources and make any adjustment necessary to insure the audio is broadcast quality.

Preceding the EAS test to broadcasters, FEMA will send at 2:18 p.m. (EDT), a Wireless Emergency Alert test message to all WEA capable wireless devices throughout the entire United States and territories.


As we have mentioned before, the broadcasting business is flooded with acronyms. As audio and video continues to move into the IP world more are on the way.

One that we see almost daily is SDN, software-defined-networking. The principles of SDN apply to the entire network and not just to controlling specific devices or components that live on that network.

Essentially, SDN replaces those "static architectures" found in traditional networks, decentralizing the hard-set nature of the network and allowing for a flexible, adjustable and extensible architecture-further promoting the differences previously expected from the traditional SDI-video routing solutions.

For more in depth information about SDN read this article from TV Technology by Karl Paulsen.


If you are installing a new digital audio workstation or upgrading your present system, here are some ways to improve the performance of your system.

  1. Maxing out your RAM is by far the simplest way to improve performance.
  2. If possible, and if your budget allows, consider using a solid-state drive instead of a hard disk Drive for your OS. While much more expensive per Gigabyte, the performance increase offered by an SSD must be seen to be believed.
  3. A new graphics card, cooling system or power supply can also reap noticeable benefits to a PC’s performance.
  4. If PC fan noise is an issue, investigate a silent cooling system.
  5. Make sure you are running a 64-bit version of windows if your processor can support it. This brings numerous benefits including more efficient RAM usage.

One of the most important things you can do to maintain an optimized system is keep it up to date. Check both Windows Update and DAW software regularly for patches and updates. Don’t forget to check for driver updates as well. Drivers act as the link between software and hardware.

Next week we will offer some additional tips to improve the operation of your DAW.


It is no surprise to engineers that proper operation and logging of tower lights ranks high on the FCC lists.

The station license and/or FAA certificate of no hazard will outline the type of system your tower(s) should have. The licensee is responsible for assuring that lights always conform to the authorization.

Operation of the tower lights must be checked once every 24 hours either visually or by electronic means unless the station has installed an automatic alarm system that will notify correct personnel of a failure.

Any malfunction of a flashing light (at any level) must be logged in the station log along with status of correction (including obtaining a NOTAM from the FAA). The tower light system including automatic alarm equipment must be checked once each quarter and logged in the station log.