Preparing For the September 2017 National EAS Test

By Larry Wilkins, CPBE, chair, SBE EAS Advisory Group

All engineers should be aware by now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has scheduled the 2017 national EAS test for Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 2:20 p.m. ET. This test will be originated and distributed via IPAWS only; the same manner as the 2016 National Test. The test will be sent with the event code NPT for National Periodic Test. All stations are expected to receive the NPT message from IPAWS or off-air and then to relay the NPT message on-air using their normal studio EAS equipment. The message will be sent with both English and Spanish language text and audio.

In preparation for the test a few items engineers need to check.
1. Verify each EAS unit has the correct time displayed. We have seen a number of units that are off by several minutes or on the wrong time zone. Equipment should be programmed to automatically synchronize to an internet time source. Even if it is set to a time server, check the clock for the correct time.

2. Verify you have a local incoming filter programmed to receive the NPT code, and it is set to automatic relay and not log only. The originator should be set to Primary Entry Point, and the event should be set to National Periodic Test (NPT).

3. Verify your station is receiving the IPAWS Required Weekly Test (RWT) on Mondays at 11:00 a.m. local time. This will assure your equipment is polling the IPAWS national server correctly.

4. If your station plans to rebroadcast the alert in Spanish, verify that the correct settings are programmed to access the Spanish version of the message. Since the procedure varies among equipment, contact the support number for your EAS unit.

5. Engineers should (if possible) be on site for the test on Sept. 27. This way you can verify firsthand the proper reception and relay as well the quality of the audio transmission.

Remember also that the FCC will require all stations to report the reception and relay of the NPT via the Commission’s EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). The user name and password used for the 2016 test will not gain access to the ETRS for this test.

Filers can access the ETRS home page by visiting the ETRS page of the Commission’s website. Instructions for setting a new user name and password as well as filing the proper forms are available on the ETRS site.

All EAS participants must submit Form One on the FCC ETRS site no later than Aug. 28, 2017.

Multiple Streams on a Single Station
Analog and digital broadcast stations that operate as satellites or repeaters of a hub station (or common studio or control point if there is no hub station) and rebroadcast 100 percent of the programming of the hub station (or common studio or control point) may satisfy the requirements through the use of a single set of EAS equipment at the hub station (or common studio or control point) which complies with §11.32 and §11.33.

In other words, if you have one hub station feeding 100 percent of its programming to several other stations, submit a Form One only for the EAS unit at the hub station. If a station has its own programming, it should be filing at least one copy of Form One.

Concerning digital FM stations with auxiliary streams (HD-2 or HD-3) and television stations with auxiliary streams (.2 or .3) these EAS participants should only file for auxiliary streams if they have their own dedicated EAS units.

For example, if the main channel has one EAS unit and the HD-2 and/or HD-3 stream has a separate EAS unit, they should file a separate set of forms. If all three channels share a single unit, they should file one set of forms.

SBE Announces Winners of 2017 National Awards

The Society of Broadcast Engineers announces the recipients of the 2017 SBE National Awards. The awards recognize excellence and achievement by individual members, SBE chapters and Sustaining Member companies. The two highest individual awards are the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year and the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year.

Presented to a member who has excelled in his or her career while furthering the mission of the SBE, the 2017 Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year is awarded to Steve Brown of Robbinsdale, MN. Brown is a former SBE Chapter 17 chairman and a former member of the SBE National Board of Directors.

The recipient of the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year award is recognized for outstanding service and excellence in sharing knowledge through teaching other broadcast engineers. The winner of the 2017 award is Tony Peterle, CPBE, of Chapter 53 in Miami. Peterle is the technical support manager at WorldCast Systems has been instrumental in teaching engineers across the country about SNMP through SBE University, Ennes workshops and SBE Webinars.

Steve BrownSteve Brown has been in the broadcast engineering industry for more than 40 years. Steve recently “hung up his test leads” and has retired for good. Steve’s career began in 1977 as an engineer at WWTC in the Twin Cities, he continued to work as an engineer in Minneapolis until he first retired in 2004 at which time he became a contract engineer. Steve was one of the first engineers to utilize a helicopter to make relative field measurements of pattern of a FM radio station. As a contract engineer, Steve was involved in building more than 20 HD Radio stations. He commented that this was the most fun he has as a broadcast engineer.

2017 marks the fifth year that the Chapter Engineer of the Year Award has highlighted the achievements of members within their chapters. This year, nine chapters selected their own award recipients. Each winner will be presented with a special certificate and will be recognized nationally on the SBE website and in a future issue of The Signal. The nine chapter winners also were automatically nominated for the national Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year Award.

Tony PeterleTony Peterle began in radio in 1975, he melded his love of flying with his radio career by reporting traffic in Honolulu and Seattle, migrating to the broadcast engineering side of media when he was in Wichita and Kansas City. Now working at WorldCast Systems, Tony has put together many Ennes Workshop tutorials that are given around the country. For the broadcast industry, he has almost single-handedly trained broadcast engineers on the basics and nuances of implementing and managing SNMP.

IMT Vislink, and John Payne specifically, has been awarded the 2017 SBE Technology Award for spearheading the launch of Newsnet – a next-generation wireless ecosystem that establishes a bi-directional IP network for ENG use. Newsnet transforms traditional methods of content news gathering workflows by establishing a high-speed and reliable bi-directional IP network utilizing the exclusive and highly coveted 2GHz BAS licensed spectrum, thereby increasing the number of live ENG transmissions and workflows that can now be performed from the field.

The Best Technical Article, Book or Program by an SBE Member is awarded to James Dalke, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, CBNT, for his presentation titled “Using Satellite VSATs for Broadcast STL” at the 2017 NAB BEITC.

Chapter Awards
Best Regional Convention or Conference
The 2016 Ohio Broadcast Engineering Conference has won for Best Chapter Regional Educational Event.

Several SBE National Awards recognize chapters for growth in membership, percentage of certified members and highest average attendance at chapter meetings. These awards are based on statistics kept at the national office, as submitted by chapters. Two awards for each category are presented, based on chapter enrollment. Class A represents chapters whose membership is less than the national median. Class B includes chapters with a membership greater than the national median.

Greatest Growth in New Members
A. Chapter 111, Huntsville, AL; Chapter Chairman Kevin Kidd, CSRE, AMD
B. Chapter 68, Birmingham, AL; Chapter Chairman Tim Costley

Most Certified Chapter
A. Chapter 72, New Orleans, LA; Chapter Chairman Ernest Kain; Certification Chairman Ernie Harvey, CPBE, 8-VSB, CBNT
B. Chapter 118, Montgomery, AL; Chapter Chairman Wiely Boswell, CBRE, CBNE; Certification Chairman Charlie Grider, CBRE, CBNT

Highest Average Member Attendance
A. Chapter 112, Western, WI; Chapter Chairman Todd Zschernitz, CBTE
B. Chapter 79, Austin, TX; Chapter Chairman Ed Rupp, CBTE, CBNT

Nominations for the 2018 awards will open in February.

All the awards will be presented during the SBE National Awards Dinner on Oct. 26, at the SBE National Meeting in Denver. The National Meeting is being held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Audio/Video Expo (AVX).

SBE Releases 2017 Compensation Survey Results

From April 1 to May 15, 2017, the Society of Broadcast Engineers conducted its second annual compensation survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. This survey provides a wealth of useful information, and it adds to the baseline being developed for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends.

The complete results of the survey are available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. A link to the survey is posted on the SBE website. SBE members will login to view the report.

The survey included 23 questions that gathered information about job titles, broadcast market size and compensation in dollars and offered benefits. SBE membership was not required to take the survey. About the survey, SBE President Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, said, “The outstanding response to the 2017 survey was comparable to 2016. The SBE Compensation Survey broadly encompasses radio, TV and other media rather than focusing on only one segment.”

While all responses remained anonymous, demographic data collected included market size, job category/title, age, years working in broadcasting, salary, benefits received, and any certification held. The data is split into radio or TV results, with greater detail on job category and market size. President Massey added, “The survey again shows that individuals who hold SBE Certification on average earn a higher salary than those who do not hold SBE Certification. This is a trend we have seen in other surveys, and continues to show true.”

SBE members can access the survey at this link. SBE login is required.

FEMA Announces Date for 2017 National EAS Test

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set a date for the next National EAS Test: Sept. 27. A secondary date in case there is an actual emergency or weather event that day is Oct. 4. The test will be conducted in the same way (IPAWS) that FEMA originated last year’s test with both English and Spanish language text and audio.

On June 26, 2017, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission released instructions for Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants to register for access to the 2017 EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

The ETRS was used successfully for the second national EAS test conducted last fall. However, based on experience with that test, the FCC has mandated that filers using the 2017 ETRS must use a single account. The PSHSB also stated in its public notice that it will release a further notice in July announcing the opening of the 2017 ETRS, and the date by which EAS participants must file their EAS reporting data.

FCC Seeks Comments on Blue Alert EAS Event Codes

By the SBE EAS Advisory Group
Larry Wilkins, CPBE, chair

In May 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that created a new kind of public emergency notification: the Blue Alert. It’s similar to the well-known Amber Alert for abducted children, but is meant to help catch people who credibly threaten or actually harm law enforcement officials. Presently a number of states have created a Blue Alert that is designed to go only via email, social media and/or website.

At the request of the Justice Department, the FCC is now considering creating a designated Blue Alert event code, that according to the DOJ would “facilitate and streamline the adoption of new Blue Alert plans throughout the nation and would help to integrate existing plans into a coordinated national framework.” The Commission has announced via a notice of proposed rulemaking that it will accept public comment on the proposed Blue Alert plan and its various elements. The comment period will run for 60 days.

The SBE EAS Advisory Group is presently monitoring this as it travels through the agency and the SBE will issue advisories to members on the status. As always, we encourage broadcasters to weigh in on the issue by using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System for docket PS 15-94. In the meantime, no technical action is required. Do not add the proposed event code yet, and continue to follow existing guidance in applicable state plans regarding any Blue Alert program that might be in effect in your area.

The SBE encourages stations to check with their state broadcaster associations and/or state emergency communication committese (SECC) to see if a Blue Alert program is in use for their state. A number of SBE members serve as chairs or board members of their SECCs. The SECCs will be tasked with formulating a plan for creation and distribution of the new Blue Alerts if adopted.

Online Resouces

SBE Names Three Members to Fellow

NAB Show, Las Vegas, NV – The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has elevated three members to the membership rank of Fellow. The SBE Board of Directors elected Frank Giardina, CPBE; Ted Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB; and Robert Hoffman, CPBE; at its meeting held Sunday, April 23 in Las Vegas during the 2017 NAB Show.

Frank Giardina is the director of engineering/IT for the Cumulus Media Birmingham, AL, market. His interest in electronics and radio began when he was a child when he started a radio repair shop in the family garage, where he worked on radios for relatives and friends. This eventually led to his first summer job in a local radio/TV repair shop. Frank obtained his amateur novice test at age 12, then his Technician License, and then his First Class Radiotelephone Operator License at 16. He currently holds an Extra Class license, WA4FG. His career includes working in Dallas as a component test technician at Rockwell-Collins before returning to Birmingham to work at stations including WAQY, WBRC-AM/FM, WSGN, WAPI-AM/FM, WZRR and WJOX. He is a past chair of SBE Chapter 68 Birmingham, and is currently frequency coordinator and certification chair. He is an instructor in the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Engineering Academy, teaching AM and FM transmission and reception.

Ted Hand is director of engineering/operations at WSOC-TV, Charlotte, NC, Cox Media Group. His TV career began at WTVZ and then WAVY in Norfolk, VA. He has also worked for Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh, NC; and WTKR and then WGNT in Hampton Roads, VA. Ted has been active in SBE Chapter 54 Hampton Roads, VA, for many years, serving the chapter as webmaster, where his efforts were recognized in the SBE Awards program in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. He is also active in SBE Chapter 45 Charlotte, NC. In 2016, both chapters honored Ted with their Chapter Engineering of the Year awards. Ted served 11 of 14 years on the SBE Board of Directors, with his last term ending in 2016. He was secretary for five of those years. He has served on the SBE’s Executive Committee, and he has chaired the SBE Frequency Coordination Committee.

Robert Hoffman is the chief engineer of Hubbard Radio St. Louis and stations WIL-FM, WARH-FM and WXOS-FM. His first job in radio was the on-air producer for The Teen Show at WINI in Murphysboro, IL in 1971. He quickly became a morning and afternoon host, and operations and music director there. His radio career has taken him to stations in Mt Vernon, IL, and Cape Girardeau, MO, before he moved to St Louis in 1985, then moved away, and returned to St. Louis in 1992. He has worked for the same stations for more than 19 years, through which he has also worked for three owners. He is active in Chapter 55 St. Louis as the Meeting Coordination and Program Chair, a role he has filled since 1995.

In the nomination for Frank Giardina, one person wrote, “Frank’s guidance, advice, extraordinary technical expertise, and insistence on perfection have helped me build six radio stations. He has also had great positive influence on many new engineers. His dedication and unwavering high standards are surely a reflection of what the SBE represents.”

In Ted Hand’s nomination, one endorser wrote, “I [have] had several opportunities to talk to Ted about broadcast engineering-related topics and the SBE, and found him to be a most talented and experienced broadcast engineer and committed to the goals of our society, the developing and advancement of the broadcast engineer.” Another endorser wrote, “His is a great support to others in the industry and is always willing to impart his knowledge to those less experienced.”

In Robert Hoffman’s nomination, an endorser wrote, “Robert’s biggest accomplishment is staying abreast of changes and technology of current radio.” In addition, “Bob is always willing to help other people. At any time, anyone who calls him, Bob will go out of his way to help.”

“Our newest Fellow members exhibit the outstanding qualities of outstanding broadcast engineers worthy of the Society’s highest member grade,” said Jerry Massey, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNT, president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. “Each has taken his own unique path to success in broadcast engineering, and I congratulate them on this recognition.”

The Fellow honor is the highest membership level in the SBE. Members must have made significant contributions to the broadcast engineering field or the SBE. Candidates are nominated by their peers. Since the Society’s founding more than 50 years ago, 75 members have been honored with the Fellow rank.

The three recipients will be recognized for their election to Fellow during the SBE National Awards Dinner on Oct. 26, 2017, in Denver, during the annual SBE National Meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain AV Expo.

SBE Plans Multiple Events for 2017 NAB Show

As you plan how you will spend your time at the 2017 NAB Show, be sure you include the many SBE events on your convention calendar. While the Ennes Workshop launches the convention on Saturday, the highlight for SBE members is the annual Membership Meeting, which will be followed by a reception. The Membership Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:15 p.m. in room N256. The Membership Meeting brings you up to date on all the SBE activities and programs, and it includes a milestone-service recognition of SBE chapter certification chairs, and updates on the society’s plans, programs and government relations efforts.NAB Show logo Everyone attending will be eligible to win prizes, including a Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio HD (courtesy of the Membership Meeting sponsor Blackmagic Design), a $250 gift card for Fry’s Electronics and restaurant gift cards.

You’ll want to get to the meeting early as well, because the first 125 people in line will receive an SBE-logoed stylus.

The Membership Reception starts immediately after the meeting at 6:15 p.m. in rroom N243. Light snacks and drinks are possible from the generous support of several Sustaining Member sponsors. There will also be multiple prize drawings at the reception thanks to Gold sponsor EMP Solutions.

A big change for the SBE this year is that the SBE booth has moved to the North Hall meeting room hallway. The official booth number is NL1. It’s near room N262.

Check the complete event schedule online, and also in the SBE Sustaining Member Online Resource Guide and NAB Show Exhibitor Listings. You’ll find details for several committee meetings, the board of directors meeting, SBE certification exams, and the daily booth prize drawing.

SBE Partners With SACIA

By Chuck Kelly; Chair, SBE International Committee
The SBE and the Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) recently signed an affiliation agreement, which allows for open communications among like-minded organizations. The SACIA is a not-for-profit society headquartered near Johannesburg, and offers technical training as well as certification in broadcast and communications technical fields.

Similar agreements are in place between the SBE and professional societies in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Pakistan, and the Philippines. There are no voting rights or financial ties under the agreements, but they are intended to share information regarding the changing technology of the broadcast industry worldwide.

Ornellas Appointed to Fill SBE Board Vacancy

Jason OrnellasSBE President Jerry Massey has appointed Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO, to fill an open position on the SBE Board of Directors. The SBE Executive Committee ratified the appointment during a conference call meeting on March 21. The Board seat opened when Mark Simpson, CPBE, AMD, DRB, CBNE, resigned from the Board. Ornellas fills Simpson’s unexpired term that will end in the fall 2018.

Ornellas is director of engineering at CBS Radio, Sacramento, CA. He has been an SBE member since 2008, first as a Student Member. He was involved with SBE chapters in Indianapolis, San Francisco and New York City before moving to Sacramento. He is a member of Chapter 43 Sacramento.

On the appointment, Massey said, “Jason expressed interest in serving on the Board in previous SBE elections, so it was a natural choice to ask him to join the Board now. I’m glad to have him with us. At the same time, I’m sorry that Mark Simpson has decided to step down, but I understand his reasons.”

Mark Simpson was recently promoted to VP of engineering of Townsquare Media. He was elected to the Board in 2016. He has stepped down from the Board to focus his energy on his new position.

Denver to Host SBE 2017 National Meeting

The Mile High City of Denver, CO, will host the 2017 SBE National Meeting on Oct. 25-26. SBE President Jerry Massey made the announcement at the end of the 2016 SBE Annual Membership Meeting held in Columbus, OH, last October. The National Meeting will be held in conjunction with Audio/Video Expo (AVX) at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport Hotel. The host chapter is Chapter 48 of Denver and the Colorado Front Range.

The SBE National Meeting includes the SBE Annual Membership Meeting, the SBE National Awards Reception and Dinner and the SBE Fellows Breakfast. Also meeting during the event will be the national SBE Board of Directors, and the national SBE Certification Committee.

The AVX is a two-day event that includes a trade show with more than 100 media and A/V oriented exhibiting companies, and two dozen workshops and seminars.

The Crowne Plaza DIA is a first class hotel that includes a 60,000 sq. ft convention center and offers free shuttle service to and from Denver International Airport. The SBE National Meeting was last held there in 2012.

More information about the SBE National Meeting will be available beginning in June. Watch for it in The Signal and SBE-news. All members and friends of the SBE are invited to attend. Members in Colorado and neighboring states are particularly encouraged to attend while the SBE National Meeting is close by. Save the dates: Oct. 25-26 for the 2017 SBE National Meeting and AVX.