REC and NAB ask FCC to extend EAS CAP Polling compliance date

REC Networks and the National Association of Broadcasters have filed a joint request with the Federal Communications Commission for a 90-day extension of the upcoming December 12, 2023 compliance date of the requirement that Emergency Alert Systems prioritize alerts that are received through the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) of a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)-formatted version of an EAS message when it receives both a legacy version (by radio) and a CAP-formatted version of the same alert.

 In 2022, the FCC established a one-year implementation date based on indications from major manufacturers of EAS equipment that the necessary firmware updates could be implemented within that time period.  

While some manufacturers, such as Digital Alert Systems have been able to provide software updates for their DASDEC equipment, Sage Alerting Systems has communicated that their release of the ENDEC Rev96 firmware has been delayed and should be released sometime in December.  

In the filing, both REC and NAB recognize that there will be many EAS participants, both radio and television, that will not be able to update their Sage ENDEC EAS devices in time for the current December 12, 2023 deadline. Many stations may require outside assistance, such as from contract engineers to complete the upgrade.  REC estimates that of small stations, including Low Power FM, as well as smaller noncommercial educational and commercial radio stations, over 60% may be using the Sage ENDEC as their decoder.  As a result, the delays announced by Sage has resulted in many concerns among the REC constituency consisting of small stations.

REC and NAB request that the FCC extend the compliance deadline to March 11, 2024 to allow stations to receive the updates, secure the apporpriate engineering assistance and implement the changes.  REC is also cognizant of the upcoming Christmas and New Years holdiays that may further limit the availability of hired help during this proposed extended period.

Today's joint request is also one of a historical value as this is the first time in the 40 year history of REC Networks that REC and NAB have jointly filed in a cooperative effort.  

"While REC and NAB still have differences on some issues, such as LP-250, we both have a common goal of keeping radio relevant in the home, in the office and on the dashboard.  Today's step by the NAB to join REC in this filing was a positive step in our relationship with them and I hope we can continue to work together on the issues that impact radio and assure that radio remains the greatest app ever made." said Michelle Bradley, CBT, founder of REC Networks.