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                        STATEMENT OF 
                  CHAIRMAN KEVIN J. MARTIN

Re:  Review of the Emergency Alert System, First Report and 
Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, EB Docket 
No. 04-296

     Today, we take the important step of applying the 
emergency alert system (EAS) rules to digital media.  We 
also continue our work to improve upon the current system.  

     Congress has charged the Commission with promoting the 
safety of life and property through the use of wire and 
radio communication.  To fulfill this important directive, 
the Commission has developed EAS, a national warning system.  
While this system performs a critical function in ensuring 
public safety, it was developed in 1994 and relies on the 
delivery of alerts and warnings through analog radio and 
television broadcast stations and cable systems.  Today, 
however, a large and growing percentage of television 
viewers and radio listeners receive their programming from 
digital media.  In this Order, we update our rules to 
require the participation of digital television and radio, 
digital cable, and satellite television and radio in EAS.  
This will ensure that all television viewers and radio 
listeners have access to national and/or regional public 
alerts and warnings in the event of an emergency.

     Equally, if not more, important, is our continued work 
to develop a more comprehensive and more robust alert 
system.  Hurricane Katrina (and Hurricanes Rita and Wilma) 
have only served to emphasize the need for a comprehensive 
and robust alert system that allows officials at the 
national, state and local levels to reach affected citizens 
in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  This 
system should have built-in redundancy features.  Among 
other things, it should incorporate the internet, which was 
designed by the military to be robust and contains network 
redundancy functionalities.  The system also should take 
advantage of advances in technology that enable officials to 
reach large numbers of people simultaneously through a 
variety of communications media.  Our work in this area is 
of the utmost importance.  I look forward to working with my 
fellow Commissioners to develop a public alert and warning 
system that is wide-reaching and furthers the Commission's 
core mission of promoting public safety through a robust 
communications system.