Letter Re: Emergency Alert System Radio Stations

Sir,
Regarding your question, WBT is one of the 30 or so stations being added to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) Primary Entry Point (PEP) network by the end of this year. Under the EAS’s older sibling, the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), 33 stations served as PEP stations. These stations could receive an emergency message from the president and relay it to the other stations in its area. The PEP stations were generally the old 50,000 watt AM powerhouses because of their wide reach. The requirements for a PEP station are as follows;

– Diesel backup generator with fuel sufficient for 30 days of continuous broadcasting without commercial power – Land line, satellite, and HF radio connectivity to FEMA Operation Centers – Special EAS Encoder/Decoders (ENDECs) with unique EAS codes – Generally located just outside of major city area for survivability – Fallout shelter, on-site food, and special lightning protection (the new PEP’s don’t have to have a fallout shelter.) – The station must be kept on-air at all times – even through changes in ownership or bankruptcy

WWL is a great example of this setup in action. It alone remained on air during and after hurricane Katrina, and its signal was simulcast over other frequencies in the area until the other stations could get back up and running.

I have a list of the original 33 stations, but a list of the new ones evades me (heaven forbid an informed populace, although I suppose you could start with WBT.) At night most of these stations can be heard over several states. In addition, many of these stations employ a directional signal at night that could be overridden if needed to really get a message out. One station, WLW, has the ability to broadcast with 500,000 watts (!) and used some of that power to send messages to the troops in Europe during WWII, and to Cuba during the cold war.

In the interest of information, here are the original PEP stations, their frequency, city of license, and broadcasting power. All except a couple of these are AM.

  • KALL 700 Herriman UT (50,000 W day/1000 W night)
  • KBOI 670 Kuna ID (50,000 W)
  • KCBS 740 Novato CA (50,000 W)
  • KERR 750 Polson MT (50,000 day/1000 night) KFLT 830 Tucson AZ (50,000 day/1000 night)
  • KFQD 750 Anchorage AK (50,000 W)
  • KFWB 980 Los Angeles CA (5000 W)
  • KFYR 550 Meneken ND (5000 W)
  • KIRO 710 Vashon WA (50,000 W)
  • KKOB 770 Albuquerque NM (50,000 W)
  • KKOH 780 Reno NV (50,000 W)
  • KOA 850 Parker CO (50,000 W)
  • KTRH 740 Dayton TX (50,000 W)
  • KTWO 1030 Casper WY (50,000 W)
  • WABC 770 New York NY (50,000 W)
  • WBAP 820 Mansfield TX (50,000 W)
  • WBAL 1090 Baltimore MD (50,000 W)
  • WBZ 1030 Boston MA (50,000 W)
  • WCCO 830 Minneapolis/St Paul MN (50,000 W)
  • WCOS FM 97.5 Columbia SC (100,000 W)
  • WHAM 1180 Rochester NY (50,000 W)
  • WHB 810 Kansas City KS (50,000 day/5000 night)
  • WKAQ 580 Catano PR (10,000 W)
  • WLS 890 Chicago IL (50,000 W)
  • WLW 700 Cincinnati OH (50,000 W)
  • WMAC 940 Macon GA (50,000 day/10,000 night)
  • WQDR FM 94.7 Raleigh NC (100,000 W)
  • WRXL FM 102.1 Richmond VA (20,000 W)
  • WSM 650 Nashville TN (50,000 W)
  • WSTA 1340 St Thomas VI (1000 W)
  • WTAM 1100 Cleveland OH (50,000 W)
  • WWL 870 New Orleans LA (50,000 W)
  • WYGM 740 Clermont FL (50,000 W)

Regards, – Dan. L

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