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NAB Show session to examine next-generation EAS

The 2010 NAB Show will offer a session April 14 exploring the next generation of emergency alert system (EAS) development with a joint presentation hosted by organizers of the Broadcast Management Conference and Broadcast Engineering Conference.

Damon Penn, assistant administrator of the National Continuity Programs (NCP) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will kick off the session with opening remarks. Penn's opening remarks will focus on the implementation of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and its impact on the EAS and broadcasters.

The session, "Putting the Final Touches on Next-Generation EAS," also will feature initial remarks by retired Rear Adm. James Barnett, chief of the FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Panelists for the session include:

• Antwane Johnson, FEMA division director and program manager;
• Suzanne Goucher, president and CEO, Maine Association of Broadcasters;
• Thomas Beers, chief, FCC Policy Division; and
• Wade Witmer, FEMA deputy division director.

The panel discussion, lead by moderator Larry Walke, associate general counsel for the NAB, will offer insight into the important role broadcasters play in EAS. The session will also elaborate on whether station responsibilities could change as the government implements the next generation of EAS.

FEMA is rolling out a new Common Alerting Protocol that will allow the same warning message to be delivered for many different warning systems, and the FCC is exploring a new process of required annual nationwide EAS testing. Attendees will learn more about these developments and what the impending changes could mean for broadcasters.