FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are coordinating a nationwide test of the EAS system on Wednesday afternoon. The test alert will be issued at 2 p.m. and is expected to be carried on radio and television across the nation.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is the latest version of the old Emergency Broadcast System. FEMA and the FCC will issue the national alert at 2 p.m. and all radio and television broadcasters along with cable and satellite systems will activate the warning test message as it is received beginning at 2 p.m.
WITN will be airing the Rachael Ray Show at that time and the government agencies have told us that they expect the alert to last for about 1 minute with the test announcement and warning tone that follows.
WITN has an agreement with some cable systems in which the cable systems will not air the alert over WITN programming, since WITN already issues the alerts from the stations. However, viewers may find that some cable or satellite systems may air the alert across their entire channel line-up, including WITN and/or WITN 7.2. Those customers may find themselves interrupted by two separate alerts, WITN's and the one issued by their cable or satellite company.
The alert system was originally created in 1951 by President Truman as the Control of Electromagnetic Radiation program as a way to alert and warn the nation. It was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System in 1963. The FCC revised the system in 1994 and renamed it EAS.
Since 1994 EAS warnings and tests have been issued at the state level. This is the first time since the system was established in 1994 that a national test has been conducted.
Anyone listening to radio or watching television around 2 p.m. this afternoon should hear the test and can be assured that "it is only a test".