This Was Only A Test
Today at 2 p.m. EST was the first ever national Emergency Alert System test. I don't think the system passed.
I had the radio in my office tuned to an AM station, and at 2 o'clock on the dot, the buzzer alarm sounded and the recording started saying that "this is a test..." But then, there was a lot of overlapping sound of the test vocals. You know how kids sing Row Row Row Your Boat in a "round?" That's almost what it was like. Then, after the test said that "we now return you to your regularly scheduled programing," the whole thing started over again.
At home, I had the DVR set to record Bonanza on TV Land because 2 o'clock came right in the middle of it. I just watched it and it was pretty strange. The screen showed a slide announcing that it was a test of the national emergency alert system and mentioned "the alarm you just heard." But there was no alarm, at least not on TV Land on DirecTV. There was some soft rock song. After the song had played for a minute or so, the alarm sounded, and there was scrolling text across the top of the screen announcing an emergency for the District of Columbia that would last until 11:18 PST. It then repeated the scroll in Spanish. Nothing about it being a test. No audible reading of the announcement. Then the soft rock began again for another few seconds. I'd definitely call it a "fail" as the kids say these days.
So, what did the nation get out of this test... Unless they are feigning incompetence, the government does not have the ability to successfully take over all of our airwaves... yet. Also, they can't figure out how to get it to also be on the NOAA alert system, which I think would be much more useful.