National Emergency Alert System Test
You've probably started hearing the reports already that on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, there will be the first ever national level Emergency Alert System test. I grew up with the Emergency Broadcasting System ("This is a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. The signal you are about to hear...") and don't ever recall hearing a real activation. With EBS, licensed broadcasters would get a signal and have to manually switch to the EBS. If they didn't, they could get fined or even lose their license. EAS came into being 10 or 15 years ago. With EAS, "they" take over a station's signal and broadcast the test or an emergency message, typically severe weather. That's why you frequently hear a disc jockey, song, or commercial get cut off in mid-sentence - they get no advanced information about the EAS activation or test. These tests are conducted at the local level weekly and state level monthly. They've never been conducted at the national level where the federal government takes over all the airways at one time for a national-level test.
That is what's coming Nov. 9th at 2 p.m. That is why they are doing so much advanced notifications. It seems there is still concern that some Americans will have a "War of the Worlds" type response to a national message and panic without realizing it is a test. I don't know... are folks really that stupid?
Now, I've heard some broadcasters express concern about the fact that the feds are taking over the airwaves. Like so much that the government does, I don't know that the goals are sinister, but there certainly is potential for the technology to be used for nefarious means. Sure, it is probably good to have the ability to get a common message out to everyone simultaneously, but does it have to be automatic and involuntary? Could not that same technology be used to take over stations that were not broadcasting "approved" information or viewpoints?
A big weakness in this system that I see, is that from what I understand, the national-level EAS messaging is not compatible with NOAA weather alert radios. There are many folks in offices, or even at home, who may not watch or listen to broadcast radio or TV, but have a NOAA radio on at all times.
Are there any broadcasters out there reading this? Is my tin foil hat on too tight? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
I've been feeling a pretty negative vibe all day... lots of nastiness in the world and on the news lately... but that feeling came to an end when I got home. I'm going to a Celtic festival and Highland games this weekend, and my new Clan Leatherneck Sport Kilt came by UPS today. I've been a kilt wearer for nigh on 15 years now, but I seem to have outgrown my traditional wool kilt (also in Clan Leatherneck tartan) and even my more recent olive drab Utilikilt, so I needed to get a new one quick. Sport Kilt came through with flying colors. How does that relate to prepping? Ahh, it probably doesn't, but Sport Kilts and Utilikilts are great for hiking or being out in the woods when a $500 wool kilt might be a little overkill. Plus, Celtic festivals are full of well-armed, yet peaceful folks, and a ton of fun. And life is a lot more than gloom and doom. Soon I'll do a review and compare and contrast the three kilts. At the festival, I usually march in the grand entrance Parade of Clans with Clan Leatherneck, so hopefully I'll get a video of that up on the You Tube channel. You know that bagpipes were once banned as a weapon of war, don't you?