Lopez Appointed to Fill SBE Board Vacancy

Vinny LopezSBE President Jerry Massey has appointed Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, to fill the open position on the SBE Board of Directors. The SBE Executive Committee ratified the appointment during its winter meeting on January 28. The Board seat opened when Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, was appointed from the Board to take the office of SBE secretary in December 2016. The Board term will end in the fall 2018.

Lopez, who is chief engineer at WSTM/WTVH/WSTQ-Sinclair Broadcast Group, Syracuse, NY, is a member of SBE Chapter 22 Central New York. He is a past president, vice president and secretary of the SBE, and served his first term as a director in 2001. He was elevated to the SBE member grade of Fellow in 2005. He has been the Chapter 22 chair and vice chair and is currently the chapter secretary.

On the appointment, Massey said, “Vinny has an established track record with the SBE, and I’m glad to have him return to service on the Board of Directors. His SBE and industry experience are a valuable asset.”

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Nominations Open for 2016 SBE Awards

By Mike Hendrickson, CPBE, CBNT
Awards Committee Chair

SBE award ribbonThe time has come to nominate SBE members and chapters for SBE awards. Please consider your chapter and chapter members when you think about these awards. There may be an individual in your chapter who has been an outstanding engineer, educator or mentor for new broadcast engineers. Recognize that person by nominating him or her for the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year or the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year awards.

Perhaps someone has written a notable technical article or presented a technical paper at a meeting. The SBE Freedom Award recognizes an individual or group that has performed extraordinary service to the United States through the use of media technology. For the hardware and software side, the SBE Technology Award recognizes the person, group, or company that has developed innovative new technology or systems for media technology.

These are a few of the awards that are presented each year by the SBE. Of the 13 awards that are presented each year, the local chapter or SBE member nominates for 10 of them.

Many SBE members are highly qualified and deserving of recognition. Likewise, many chapters do an excellent job promoting the ideals and goals of the SBE. I urge you to nominate these members and chapters so they can receive the recognition they deserve. Nominate someone or a chapter today.

All the national awards were created to recognize the efforts of members and chapters. Find all the details on the SBE awards at sbe.org/awards. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Certification Director Megan Clappe at mclappe@sbe.org or me at mhendrickson@sbe.org.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers Forms EAS Advisory Group

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has actively worked as a source of information for the Emergency Alert System since it was launched. As the system has developed and evolved to include new technologies and alerting partners, so has the SBE adapted to be the most effective and thorough resource for broadcasters to use to implement their EAS efforts.

As part of this evolution, SBE President Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, authorized the formation of the SBE EAS Advisory Group. The purpose of the group is to stay abreast of developments regarding EAS that will affect SBE members, including changes in federal regulations, policy and technology, and communicate pertinent developments to appropriate SBE national leadership and staff.

The group’s member’s are:
Larry Wilkins, CPBE, AMD, CBNT (group chair)
George Molnar
James Hoge
Ed Czarnecki (Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems)
Harold Price (Sage Alerting Systems)

The group members were chosen to yield insight from the two SBE national committees that are involved with EAS issues, SBE members who are heavily involved with EAS, and SBE sustaining members that manufacture EAS equipment. The group reports to Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, the chair of the SBE Education Committee, and Joe Snelson, CPBE, 8-VSB, the chair of the SBE Government Relations Committee.

On the announcement of the group’s formation, SBE President Jerry Massey said, “The SBE has worked with the various EAS partners, from stations to manufacturers to legislators, to be the trusted source of EAS information. The SBE EAS Advisory Group continues the effort that was begun by previous SBE committees.”

Larry Wilkins, the group chair, added, “Going forward, one focus of the group will be to field reports concerning origination or distribution problems from broadcast stations and state emergency communications committees (SECC). Using the expertise of the committee members along with information from our contacts with the FCC and FEMA, a recommended solution can be issued to the industry.”

Initial Findings of the 2016 EAS Nationwide Test

EAS logoAt the end of December, the FCC released an initial overview of the nationwide EAS test results and highlighted several opportunities for strengthening the EAS. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) and the National Weather Service (NWS), conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) at 2:20 p.m. EDT on Sept. 28, 2016. The nationwide test was designed to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS, with a particular emphasis on testing FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the integrated gateway through which common alerting protocol-based (CAP-based) EAS alerts are disseminated to EAS Participants.

The test also provided the Commission an opportunity to evaluate improvements made to the EAS since the 2011 nationwide EAS test and to improve its ability to monitor the performance of EAS Participants during nationwide EAS tests. At the direction of the Commission, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau launched the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS), an electronic filing system and related database, on June 27, 2016. Using ETRS for the first time, EAS Participants nationwide registered accounts and submitted identifying information regarding their participation in the EAS. In the hours following the nationwide test, EAS Participants submitted “day of test” results that indicated whether they successfully received and retransmitted the test alert. EAS Participants submitted detailed analyses in the weeks following the test that specified how they received the alert and identified any complications they experienced during the test.

The FCC reports that the Nationwide EAS Test was successful. Initial test data indicates that the vast majority of EAS participants successfully received and retransmitted the National Periodic Test (NPT) code that was used for the test. The improvements made to the EAS using the lessons learned from the 2011 nationwide EAS test and the implementation of the ETRS appear to have significantly improved test performance over what was observed during the 2011 test.

From the data submitted by EAS participants to the ETRS, several steps have been identified where the Commission could strengthen the EAS. These improvements address problems with poor audio quality, inability to deliver the Spanish alert because of receive timing between the over-the-air test and the IPAWS CAP alert, better access to alerts for people with disabilities, shortcomings in some state EAS plans, improperly configured station equipment, and potential improvements in cybersecurity of the EAS.

Read the FCC’s public notice:
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-1452A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-1452A1.pdf