The FCC advised December 15 that parties subject to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules (radio and television stations, wired and wireless cable television systems, digital broadcast systems, digital television broadcast stations, Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service, digital cable and digital audio broadcasting systems, and wireline video systems) must submit their annual Form One filings for calendar year 2022 in the online EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) by no later than February 28, 2023.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) previously announced that it would not conduct a nationwide EAS test in 2022 and it has not scheduled a nationwide EAS test for 2023.  Nonetheless, in a provision buried in the rules related to the nationwide test, the FCC’s rules require EAS participants to annually review and update their identifying information for each station (e.g., transmitter location, EAS monitoring assignments, and make and model of EAS gear). Because FEMA has not conducted and does not plan to conduct a nationwide EAS test in the remainder of 2022, the FCC had not set a deadline for broadcasters to file Form One in calendar year 2022, as the FCC has stated was required.  The ETRS system is expected to open on January 3, 2023.  This timing should be welcome news for EAS Participants, as it provides some breathing room over Christmas.

The filings also will fall shortly after the close of the comment cycle in the pending rule making proceeding which is examining the operational readiness of the EAS system (PS Docket No. 15-94) and will provide further information to be considered in that proceeding.

For those out of the loop, ETRS is an online filing system by which EAS Participants submit information regarding their performance on nationwide tests of the EAS that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Commission conduct regularly to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure.

Please make sure to confirm that all information submitted to ETRS is accurate as well as to correct any past filing errors.  The FCC plans to open ETRS for Form One filings on January 3, 2023.  Further details will be released in future Public Notice, so please remain on the lookout into the New Year.

If you have any questions or would like assistance preparing your Form One filing, please contact a Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth attorney and we would be glad to help.