Wednesday, November 9, 2011. For most of us that date holds no particular significance.
It’s a different story if you happen to be in the broadcasting industry. See, the first ever Nationwide test of the EAS (Emergency Alert System) will be carried out on November 9, 2011.
We have all seen or heard these tests from time to time. First you hear that obnoxious tone & then the announcement that, “This is only a test.” Maybe it’s an Amber alert or a weather warning. All important & all necessary.
So how is this any different? Well, these alerts are always done on a local or regional level. All broadcasters are required to participate in real & test alerts.
This is unprecedented. The Federal Government will be taking over all forms of broadcast communications for more than 3 minutes.
Only the President has the authority to activate EAS at the national level, and he has delegated that authority to the Director of FEMA. The test will be conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS).
It is curiously being done at 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time. If one wanted to test something on such a massive scale, why not do it at 2:00 A.M. so as not to disrupt things and avoid possibly freaking people out?
That is not a rhetorical question. I honestly don’t know.
Here are some other questions to ponder. Should any president (except for Hugo Chavez), particularly this one, have this much authority? The EAS and it’s predecessor the EBS (Emergency Broadcast System) have been around since 1963. Why are they doing this now? Is this just some weird demonstration of the power of the Government?
The FCC states, “In order to minimize disruption and confusion during the EAS test, it is being conducted on November 9 because this date is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season begins. The 2 p.m. EST broadcast will minimize disruption during rush hours while ensuring that the test occurs during working hours across the country.” It doesn’t explain why it has to be during working hours.
They go on to state, “A major disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami could require the use of the system to send life-saving information to the public.” Um… no it wouldn’t. We’ve experienced those before. Since when does an earthquake, hurricane or tidal wave require a nationwide simultaneous warning.
There is turmoil throughout the globe. The Middle East is blowing up. Europe is on the verge of a financial meltdown. The “Occupy” events continue to disrupt things here and abroad. Is there something just beyond our visible horizon?
This really bothers me. There are but a few things that would warrant this type of top down control of the airwaves. A nuclear attack, some sort of rapidly moving plague or Martial Law.