Radio Ad Triggers EAS Units

INDIANAPOLIS: The Society of Broadcast Engineers has alerted members that a radio ad for an oil company is tripping EAS units.

“Members of the SBE EAS Committee and participants in SBE’s EAS Exchange have identified a radio commercial being aired for the oil company ARCO, a subsidiary of BP, which uses EAS header tones at the start of the commercial,” the SBE said.

“The commercial starts with shortened EAS headers, then the spoken phrase, ‘The following alert is from ARCO.’ The EAS headers are partial, but contain enough information to mimic the start of an EAS header, using the proper frequencies and data rate,” the group’s Web site stated. “When this commercial is played by a station that is being monitored, it may cause some EAS equipment to unmute and print a partial message. While the internal monitor speaker is unmuted, the alert is not relayed by the EAS unit on the monitoring station.”

“It has been reported that the header tones are played faster than 1100 baud but have tripped some EAS units monitoring stations that air the commercial,” SBE continued.

“Although the problem will only affect stations that both are being monitored and play this specific commercial… the SBE recommends stations check the affected commercial material. The existence of this audio may be considered an FCC violation. The decoded tones suggest that the message originates from the Hillsboro, Manatee and Pasco counties of Florida, which are part of the Tampa metropolitan area. The affect, however, is being heard nationwide.”

SBE told members that the commercial “has been running frequently and does not trip every time. One station reports that they have had five events. Their EAS units unlock and this commercial is heard every time.”

FCC regulations prohibit false or deceptive EAS transmissions. -- With Radio World