FCC Moves To Add 13 New Languages To EAS On Radio


With the debate around EAS distribution a core tenet of the fight to keep AM radio in automobiles, the Federal Communications Commission seeks to enhance the inclusivity of emergency alerts for non-English speaking residents to thirteen additional languages.

This is the focus of a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking introduced during the Commission’s February open meeting.

While the Emergency Alert System currently permits alerts in languages other than English, the overwhelming majority are broadcast solely in English. The FCC says this leaves the more than 26 million US residents who report limited or no English proficiency at a disadvantage during critical times.

To combat this, the NPRM introduces pre-scripted, template alert messages and prerecorded audio files in the 13 most commonly spoken non-English languages in the US. Languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

It would become mandatory for EAS participants, like broadcasters and cable providers, to transmit in the appropriate language matching their content.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel plus Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Anna Gomez all expressed strong support for the initiative.

Commissioner Starks said, “This is vital work. As I said to the members of our Disability Advisory Committee a few weeks ago, by definition, in an emergency, time is of the essence. Alert recipients must be able to receive, understand, and act upon emergency alerts immediately. We cannot have large swaths of Americans – whether they are hearing-impaired, or non-English or non-Spanish speakers – getting left behind. I understand that this will be difficult. It may require substantial updates to participants’ existing systems, but today we make a start.”

Chairwoman Rosenworcel added, “I know if we get creative we can update radio and television alerts just like we are doing with Wireless Emergency Alerts. I am convinced that if we do this right we can save more lives.”

Quotes were contributed from Radio Ink‘s sister publication RBR+TVBR.


  1. I hear something big is coming !!! So yes, all ears and innerstanding of what’s about to be said will be in all humanities interest . No one left behind ❤️


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