DAS-RCS for Smooth EAS Transitions
Ind. — For many years radio stations simply used an EAS box to put out EAS
messaging. A severe weather warning or test message would come in, the box
would take control of the broadcast and play out the message, and then the
station would resume its regular broadcast.
The alert or test often cut off songs or cut
into commercials, and the result was, at best, a clunky broadcast that might disrupt
the listener experience. At worst, however, this abrupt interruption of spot
blocks and paid messages could be alarming, even when the EAS message itself was
the integration of that EAS box — the DASDEC from Digital Alert Systems — with
RCS NexGen Digital radio automation software is allowing stations such as ours
to maintain broadcasts with a much more natural flow, even when there is a need
to play out EAS messages.
We have deployed DASDEC systems with Digital
Alert Systems’ MultiStation-2 and MultiStation-5 software in Evansville, Ind.,
and MultiStation-2 in Owensboro, Ky., to facilitate multiple station operation
and redundancy in each market. These software systems respectively enable one
DASDEC unit to provide complete EAS coverage for our collocated stations.
The RCS-DAS interface we’ve implemented communicates
EAS information between the NexGen Digital automation and the appropriate DASDEC
box over our IP network using Digital Alert Systems’ EAS-Net communications
protocol. When the DASDEC receives an EAS alert, it passes that information to
the RCS system, which in turn examines the active playlist, finds the next
logical break and seamlessly inserts the EAS event audio between preexisting
The listener hears a playlist item come to its
natural end, hears the alert and then hears either resumption of programming
or, when necessary, a weather or news report providing more detail about the
alert. Additionally, each station has its own Net-Alert Interface so only
alerts designated for that station are sent to its NexGen computer.
When the DASDEC system receives an alert for insertion
into the broadcast, it triggers a mode in RCS so that in addition to dropping
an audio file into the playlist, it also gives our jocks a visual cue that
there will be an EAS alert. Because this cue includes the alert text, they know
right away if it is a test or if, for example, it’s a storm warning for
particular counties. Our jocks quickly get all the information they need to
decide when and how to play out the alert.
the case of a tornado, they would go ahead and play the alert immediately,
following up with further information. If it’s a test, they likely would just
air it going into or out of a spot block.
NexGen has played the alert it sends a message back to the DASDEC that the
alert has played. If for some reason NexGen does not play the alert, the DASDEC
will interrupt the air chain and forward the alert.
we implemented this system across our seven radio stations in Southern Indiana
and Northern Kentucky, it was nearly impossible for our afternoon jocks to
maintain an engaging dialog when severe weather came through the area. Now the
combination of our DASDEC box and RCS software gives our jocks better and
easier control over when and how alerts play. As a result, our stations can
provide programming that listeners want to hear, as well as the community
service of timely emergency alerts without being a nuisance.
better control over alert playout is a benefit to all our stations, it has been
particularly valuable to our two Local Primary stations, WBKR(FM) and WKDQ(FM).
As designated local primaries, we must carry more EAS alerts on these stations,
often as many as six to eight per hour when the weather is bad. With the DASDEC
interface our jocks can work those alerts into our programming easily, making
for a better listener experience.
I’ve been waiting for the integration of our EAS
system with our automation software for a long time, and the solution offered
by DAS is the first that really works.
contact Bill Robertson at Digital Alert Systems in New York at (585) 765-1155
ext. 121 or visit