NPR Labs Seeks Stations to Participate in Emergency Alert Demonstration

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March 18, 2013 – NPR Labs is seeking 25 Public Radio Satellite System®  (PRSS) interconnected FM stations in Gulf Coast states to participate in  a project to demonstrate the delivery of emergency alerts to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.  NPR Labs has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a pilot system to demonstrate that all individuals, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, can rely on battery-powered radios to stay informed in emergencies when electricity, Internet and other communications channels are unavailable.

To be considered for participation in this project, prospective stations must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be connected to the PRSS and have a working PRSS downlink and associated equipment,
  2. Be located in one of the following states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida,
  3. Be willing to participate in the demonstration project, and
  4. Have sufficient technical resources to support the project at the station, including but not limited to in-station access to the public Internet and existing internal data network facilities.

Because this project relies on transmitted Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) messages, it is highly desirable for a prospective station to own and use an RBDS encoder, and be able to transmit RBDS messages (if a particular station or stations is deemed critically important to be included in this project but lacks an RBDS encoder, the project will provide an encoder to the station).

Stations that are selected to participate in this project will receive an IDC SFX 4104 Pro Audio receiver and a Jump2Go firmware device, to be used for the project. Participating stations will retain ownership of this equipment after the project is completed.

Stations that wish to participate in this project -- and meet the criteria listed above -- are encouraged to contact to NPR Labs at nprlabs@npr.org by 5 pm ET, April 15, 2013.

For questions, please contact Rich Rarey, NPR Labs, at rrarey@npr.org or 202-513-2577.

Posted March 18, 2013