Just a week away, still a work in progress

With the Nationwide EAS Test just a week away (that would be November 9), it appears that the on-line reporting system the Commission has devised is still a work in progress. Presumably in response to complaints about the original version’s insistence that a cellphone number be provided for the identified contact person, that field has now been made optional. And while the on-line form still mystifyingly requires transmitter coordinates in decimal form, now at least the Commission has inserted a link to the conversion tool (from degrees/minutes/seconds to decimal) that we had linked to in our previous post about the on-line reporting form.

(The current version of the form may be found here. You can compare that to the version of the form that was originally approved by OMB and turned loose on an unsuspecting public last week.)

As far as we know, no public announcement of these changes has been made.  I just checked the EAS page on the FCC’s website (at 6:15 p.m.), and it does not appear to mention the changes that have been made in the last day or so, much less whether any other changes might be in the works.  (Note, though, that the EAS page now includes a button which fires up an email program so that you can fire off questions or comments on the EAS system directly to the FCC.  If they can adjust their website — and the form — so quickly, why did it take them so long to get the on-line reporting system up and running?)

On the one hand, it’s good to know that the FCC is apparently trying to be responsive to the criticisms which have popped up in the few days since the on-line form was finally unveiled. On the other, it’s troubling that the Commission is still having to revise that form this close to the test date. It’s even more troubling that the correction process is apparently being undertaken with the same level of secrecy that kept the initial version of the form under wraps until a scant two weeks before the test. Wasn’t this the Commission that was committed to transparency?