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Major Broadcast Groups and Tech Companies Back Advanced Emergency Alerting Service

12 04 2016 00:37
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 – Major broadcast groups have joined other broadcasters and technology companies to support the rapid deployment of the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN). Together, they are forming the “AWARN Alliance,” whose primary mission is to implement the advanced alerting capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 Next-Generation Television broadcast standard being finalized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). AWARN leverages the powerful new ATSC 3.0 technology to achieve major improvements in current alerting systems. In emergencies, AWARN can deliver rich media, multilingual, and geo-targeted content – including video, storm tracks, evacuation routes, flood maps, and earthquake early warnings – to millions of consumer devices simultaneously. Delivered over broadcast spectrum from TV stations equipped with back up generators, AWARN will function even when cellular networks overload or the electric grid goes down. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently testing initial AWARN-related technologies at the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Lab in Indian Head, Md. Joining the AWARN Alliance are Pearl TV, a partnership of television broadcast groups; Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the nation’s largest TV broadcasting companies; and PILOT, (formerly NAB Labs). These broadcasting powerhouses have joined forces with a diverse group of technology companies and fellow broadcasters that pioneered the AWARN technology. AWARN Alliance members also include Capitol Broadcasting Company, a leading innovator in digital broadcasting, and technology companies Digital Alert Systems/Monroe Electronics, Gates Air, LG Electronics/Zenith and Triveni Digital. Each has been instrumental in the development of AWARN and its predecessor technologies through their investment in research and development. Another Alliance member, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), also has provided technical support during AWARN’s entire development cycle. Officially launching next week at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, the AWARN Alliance represents a major segment of the broadcasting and allied industries. Together, Pearl TV, Sinclair, and Capitol Broadcasting reach over 80 percent of U.S. television households. The NAB, the parent organization of PILOT, represents the television broadcast networks and local stations nationwide. PBS serves 350 member stations. John LawsonPearl TV members own and operate more than 200 network-affiliated TV stations. Pearl member companies are Cox Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Raycom Media, and TEGNA, Inc. Sinclair Broadcast Group owns or operates 171 TV stations and, through its affiliate, ONE Media, also has been a major contributor to the development of Next Generation Television. The Alliance’s Executive Director is one of the chief architects of AWARN, John Lawson, long-time broadcasting executive and principal at Convergence Services, Inc. “Next-Generation TV enables this powerful next-generation emergency communications system. The additional support of the major broadcast groups with their nationwide reach is a huge step toward deployment of AWARN, a public alerting system for a 21st Century America,” Lawson said.

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