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Stations Compare Notes About EAS Test and ETRS

09-30-16

Susan Ashworth, Radio World

Just as soon as the Rolling Stones jumped in to "Start Me Up" the song stopped - and that was a good thing.

Wednesday`s nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System halted Mick from promising that he`d never stop, never stop - at least as heard on XM Satellite by one Radio World contributor at 11:20 a.m. Pacific time. Now, from across the country, comments continue to roll in to Radio World that the EAS IPAWS test widely went smoothly, as experienced in the field. (We reported a first batch yesterday.)

But we`re still watching for a consensus to emerge about how the subsequent filing process in the new FCC EAS Test Reporting System went. And official technical conclusions about the test and what it revealed await review and reporting by federal officials, who will, among other things, compare this experience with the first such national test in 2011.

The Federal Communications Commission did report Thursday that it had heard from more than 22,000 participants - broadcast stations and other EAS-involved entities - following the Sept. 28 test. And the test itself seems to have come through in most cases clearly and audibly.

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NABA Takes Higher Profile in FM Chip Push

09-19-16

Backers of active FM chips in smartphones are expanding their push beyond U.S. borders.

Reflecting that effort, the North American Broadcasters Association has begun publishing data about penetration of FM chips in smartphones for the North American market.

"Working with the National Association of Broadcasters and using data compiled by research and consulting firm ABI Research, this sales data shows the extent of FM chip penetration in the top-selling smartphones for Canada, Mexico and the U.S. for the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016," according to a statement released jointly by NAB and NABA. NAB tech arm Pilot has been publishing U.S. data; this expands the effort.

NABA, based in Toronto, is an association of broadcasting organizations in Canada, United States and Mexico that describes itself as "your regional voice in the international media community" and has been taking a higher profile with radio-related matters lately. The U.S. NAB helped fund development of the NextRadio local listening app, which relies on active FM chips and expands on their capabilities. Both NAB and Emmis Corp., the parent of NextRadio, are associate members of NABA, and Paul Brenner of Emmis/NextRadio is vice chair of the NABA Radio Committee.

NAB and NABA said the new data show that "most of the top-selling smartphones in all three countries include an FM chip, which means that these devices can receive free, over-the-air FM radio signals, depending upon whether the FM chip is activated in the device." But many of these are not activated, including the popular Apple iPhone activation in which has been something of a Holy Grail for FM chip proponents.

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