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Re: the new emergency alert system.

On Thu, 7 Aug 1997, PETER GEORGE, N1GGP wrote:

> If a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert happens to be interrupted by
> an EAS test, hey.... that's the nature of the beast.  There ARE some things
> that are more important than some music selection..... such as emergency
> weather statements, information for life and safety, Presidential statements
> of national significance and whatever.

I have no problem with any of those.  My problem is with the Required
Monthly Test, and particularly with the requirement that it be rebroadcast
within 15 minutes.

The Required Monthly Test is not an emergency action notification.  It is
not of interest, convenience, or necessity to anyone.  It's twenty seconds
of annoying tone, thirty seconds of irrelevant information, and a bunch of
buzzing noises.  When it interrupts a favorite piece of music, listeners
get pissed.  

My problem is that two radio stations -- no, *three* radio stations --
with which I am associated have to let their programming be screwed up and
their listeners pissed off by a competitor (do you think WBMX ever runs an
RMT in the middle of one of their songs?).  

Furthermore, WBMX has screwed up their RMTs at least three times to my
knowledge, once (February or March, I forget which) omitting the EOM
signal and blasting rock music into the ears of WCRB's listeners for two
minutes (fortunately our EAS box timed out after that). Then there was the
time (May?) when they ran *two* RMTs within a twelve hour period. 

> If the FCC requires our stations to do these tests, YOU DO IT......end
> of story. 

Peter, I'm sorry, but that's bullshit.  This is a poorly engineered
system.  Interrupting a piece of music abruptly is something that should
properly be done only in a *real* emergency, when you want to be sure to
attract the full attention of your listeners.  If you do it routinely, it
loses its dramatic effect -- you're crying "wolf", and when the real
tornado or nuclear missile shows up a lot of listeners will not pay any
attention to you.

The rules have to be changed.

Rob Landry

... these are my opinions, not necessarily those of my employers.