September 3, 1998
With the the concurrence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), the Commission will no longer distribute Emergency Alert System (EAS) authenticator lists. The lists, commonly referred to as the red envelopes, have been in use since the inception of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1963. FEMA thanked the Commission for its on-going support of this important national security program.
When EAS was adopted by the Commission in 1994 to replace EBS, broadcasters and cable operators were required to install new EAS equipment. The new equipment can operate in an automatic mode without the need for human intervention and authentication. FEMA and WHCA were requested to comment on the matter and they recommended that use of the authenticator lists be discontinued.
Part 11 of the Commission's EAS rules will be amended to delete use of the authenticator lists. Also, the procedures in the EAS AM/FM and TV Handbooks will be revised to reflect that the use of the authenticator lists is discontinued. If you have any questions, please contact the FCC EAS Staff in the Compliance & Information Bureau at (202)418-1220 or 418-1226 or by email at EAS@fcc.gov.