EAS and EAS… ?!? Coincidence? You decide!

Something odd happened today.   I watch very little TV during the day but sometimes if I am making lunch or doing something in the kitchen I switch it on to see if something interesting is going on.

As I watched, this guy popped up:

Great choice of color of the text with that background, right?  And some people think the US government should run even more aspects of our lives.

In any event he announced that there would be a test of the Emergency Alert System.  I don’t remember ever seeing anything like this on TV, though it happens on the radio occasionally.

A few minutes later this popped up:

This was a surreal experience because of the music playing while this was on the screen.


I used my wonderful ReplayTV I have been nursing along for years to go back and pick up some of the lyrics, which I then searched out on the internet.

The result: Paparazzi by Lady Gaga.

Weird.  Wouldn’t you think there would be some message telling us what was going on rather than Lady Gaga?

Is it possible that this test failed?

So… we haven’t ever had tests on TV of the “EAS”.  What was this all about?

BTW… we were still here to see this test.  The huge planet killing asteroid travelling 29K mph inside the orbit of the Moon did NOT … I repeat… did NOT strike the Earth, killing us all by fiery death and floods and other death inflicting killer catastrophic annihilation scenarios.

So… Emergency Alert System and Earth Annihilating Stone …. both are EAS and they both whizzed by in a 24 hour period.  Wow.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. BV says:

    …and I was was disappointed while I stood outside with fork in hand, waiting for the celestial Ukrainina meatball to arrive.

    Lady Gaga? No surprise, she is the “entertainer” of choice of the United States Deaprtment of State. Maybe she will be Obama’s running mate in 2012 should Biden decide to resign. After all, the State Department encourages major cities around the world to host Lady Googoogaga concerts. That’s what we pay taxes for!!!

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    A brief radio report this morning mentioned that “two years of planning” had gone into this test (as is mentioned here). I assume that readability studies for the graphics were not included.

  3. wmeyer says:

    This was to be the first national test of the EAS. Somewhat sinister, as it demonstrates the ability of the FedGov to take over the airwaves. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I have grave reservations about this, as someone who has worked in television (engineering) for over 40 years.

    That said, it apparently was as badly bungled on television as on the radio. Originally, it was to be a 3 minute blanket of all transmissions. Perhaps we have been saved by the normal incompetence of our rulers. I dare hope.

  4. ckdexterhaven says:

    I’m not going to worry until they start playing Soylent Green music in the background….

  5. wmeyer says:

    I think Soylent Green is on the schedule for the next test….

  6. Geoffrey says:

    The commercials have been airing for weeks. My understanding is that these tests are usually local, and this was the first national test? Do the feds know something we don’t? I suddenly feel the need to acquire a second passport…

    Lady Gaga?! If the world were coming to an end, I think I’d prefer to hear something like Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ or Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’. Perhaps ‘Dies Irae’ by Verdi or Mozart, or even something from Blessed John Henry Newman and Edward Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’!

  7. wmeyer says:

    The EAS system is old, and all too often we get a double hit, once from the crude old system, and another from the local station using more finesse, but presenting no more useful info than the first alarm. Before EAS there was EBS, and before that, there was CONELRAD, when I was a kid. The roots of this are from the Cold War. What disturbs me is the potential for the government to reach in and seize control of the airwaves, whenever they wish. Orwell knew too well the power in such a system.

  8. wmeyer says:

    …but you really have to love the expertise that yielded white characters on a pale cyan to white gradient background. ;) And apparently not even HD can save the FCC seal. Easily the worst production value I have seen on broadcast in quite a few years.

  9. dans0622 says:

    The radio station I was listening to had the test, but it was at least 30 seconds late. It had the typical, initial buzzing and beeping but then it sounded like static. No “instructions.” I still fail to see the use of such a thing.

  10. Peggy R says:

    We have a local or regional EAS test every Wed at midnight central. Yeah, this one messed up, thank goodness. It started a bit late and repeated itself in STL on radio. We did not hear Lady Gaga.

    We all know the media can get a story out in lightning speed these days. No need for a federal system to overtake communications.

  11. Will D. says:

    I guess I forgot to wear my tinfoil biretta today. The test worked fine here in Colorado Springs on multiple OTA tv/radio stations. The government has always had the ability, under the various FCC licensing acts, to monopolize the airwaves. If we find ourselves with an existential national emergency, be it an invasion, a plague, or the complete breakdown in society that Fr. Z is always warning about, I’d like to be able to get a heads up. That’s what the EAS is for, and I, for one, would like to know that the blessed thing works.

  12. Mary Jane says:

    I knew the test would happen (had read about it ahead of time) but I didn’t have the radio on and I don’t have TV…so I didn’t get to see it or hear it happen…

    Lady Gaga!? *gags*

  13. pattif says:

    This looks like the 21st century, visual equivalent of the EAS in operation when I was a kid in primary school in California in the 1950s. Every Monday at 12 noon a siren would sound, and we would have to stop what we were doing, crawl under our desks, curl up in a ball, fold our hands over the backs of our necks and stay there until the siren stopped. Even as a 6-7 year old, I used to wonder what protection this would offer in the event of a real attack. Now I wonder that people are expected to pay taxes to fund the salaries of the people who think this stuff up.

  14. I am surprised, amused, and delighted that Fr. Z didn’t know the song, and even had to google the lyrics to find out. I’ve been laughed at in the past for not knowing who “J-Lo” is.

  15. cregduff says:

    Many people in touch with current technology admit readily that this system though flawed reaches quite a number of households. However, among the technorati, there is a valid arguement to be made that without looping in social media sites and methods, twitter included, that too grand a swath of persons are missed. The counter to that is that the social networks and twitters of the world will pick up and retransmit; however, the authentication and veracity of these messages, in a real crisis, remains an undeniable issue.

  16. RANCHER says:

    It was a non event in Oregon as the state was unable to pick up the feed from FEMA and so it didn’t happen. Silly me, I thought the little Marxist guy was going to address the nation and his teleprompter broke.

  17. James Joseph says:

    I’ve seen it time and time again since I was a kid watching Wild, Wild America and Mr. Rogers.

  18. I remember periodic television tests growing up in the 70’s in the NYC tv market. You would get the alarm sound and a test pattern, then the voice saying it was only a test.

    Has anyone ever heard the system used? Did they use it on 9/11? I don’t remember hearing it that day. I have heard it used once, in the Buffalo, NY area during the Blizzard of 93.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Isn’t anyone worried that the government can do this, even if botched?

  20. Bryan Boyle says:

    Epic fail.

    But….what do you expect from the same people that gave us the US Post Office, TSA, Amtrak, Cash for Clunkers, Solyndra…need I say more.

    That being said, the end-point TV and radio stations are granted the PRIVILEGE of using specific frequencies by the FCC, who derives (well, theoretically, anyway) its authority from the people of the United States. In fact, the old license certificate used to state (I don’t know if it does anymore, since it’s been a few years since I worked in a station…) something to the effect of “The Federal Communications Commission, by the authority granted it by the citizens of the United States…”.

    Broadcasters continue to (again, theoretically) operate in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity”. That’s why they are required to maintain Public Files, notify of renewal application, have those insipid public access shows on at 5AM Sunday morning, etc.

    Conelrad to EBS to EANS to what we have today is just that. It worked well until FEMA and DHS got into the act. It was an ideal example of localism being the best control mechanism. It failed. Did anyone doubt it would?

    Of course, now it remains to be seen how they ‘fix’ a broken system that was not broken when they started, but by bureaucratic meddling…and LOTS of money changing hands (each station was forced, by law, to spend somewhere from 2-7K dollars to change out the equipment since the existing receivers were incompatible with the mandated new procedure) to show it didn’t work.

    Epic fail. But, then, did you REALLY expect anything different?

    (Full disclosure: former asst. chief engineer WFUV-FM, chief engineer WBUD/WBJH-FM, master control engineer ABC Radio Network, etc…)

  21. New Sister says:

    Supertradmum, I am quite worried about it. The state we are in is exercising my trust in God and His Mercy no small amount — to the point where I am willing to leave my career and offer the whole of myself to the front lines of the New Evangelization.

  22. nanetteclaret says:

    What’s really scary is the possibility that this system would relay disinformation. There is certainly no guarantee that whatever they broadcast would be the truth. On the contrary, it would be a convenient method for broadcasting propaganda.

    But, really! Lady Gaga? I guess they think every single person in the U.S. just loves pop culture music. Here’s a clue: some of us can’t stand it and would not take seriously any message with that music as background.

  23. Brad says:

    Lady Gaga is an illuminati special forces shock trooper much more than say, Steinem was, when she was sent to Paris to foment street riots and spew culture of death propaganda with her magazine. A little bit of googling reveals so much. They don’t even try to hide it. Never have. It’s part of pride to let it all hang out in front of the mass of American sheep. Full masonic rituals on MTV awards? Hey, no problem! Satanic rituals on MTV awards? Hey, no problem! And we then wonder why this Catholic soul, warped into operating under her nomme de guerre, her Christian name left at home in a rosary pouch, is chosen by our govt as well as the mass media and constantly thrust into our faces? And just as her face morphs into Napolitano’s on an LCD screen in your hotel or in Walmart telling you to “report something”…ie report anyone who is not accepting NWO.

  24. Fr-Bill says:

    I am the operations manager of a radio station with broadcast experience back to 1963.
    The so-called “national EAS test” was handled on radio like all EAS tests. The FEMA test went to all state primary radio stations. IF the state primary stations were using automation, the test was then relayed on-the-air to all local stations in its area. If the primary stations was NOT automated a real live person pushed the button for a relay. The local station received the test from the primary. The same process ensued. The typical delay at my station is 20 min (during which time an on-site employee could stop the process or allow it to continue).
    The EAS received does indeed “take over” the local station during the test, although there is a maximum time limit allowed. The time limit is why the test, originally scheduled for 3 minutes was cut to less than a minute.
    I have received reports that there were (yesterday) audio problems with the test and that the audio problems originated at the Federal level.
    At the local level it was business as usual – followed by some good hard rock music.

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