FCC Requests Language Translation Plans

(October 16, 2017) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has directed all broadcast and cable licensees to declare their intentions relative to translating Emergency Alert System (EAS) content into languages other than English.

On August 15, 2017 the FCC issued DA17-770.  It gives licensees until November 6 to inform each State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) whether or not it intends to translate EAS content into a language other than English.  The written declaration must indicate the reasoning behind the decision.  Each SECC has until May 4, 2018 to provide a summary of the responses to the FCC and/or incorporate the data into state EAS plans.

If the licensee currently conducts any multilingual activity it must also notify the SECC.

It seems likely that most New Hampshire licensees will declare that they have no intention of providing EAS translations into other languages.  Unlike major metropolitan areas (like New York or Miami where there are substantial percentages of Spanish-speaking residents), most Granite State communities have small – or no – significant minority presence.

New Hampshire’s largest city is Manchester with a population of about 110,000 people.  According to the school department there are 84 languages spoken by students in the public schools.  Here is the district’s 2016 list of top 10 languages spoken and the number of non-English speakers.

  • Spanish (983)
  • Arabic (207)
  • Nepali (165)
  • Vietnamese
  • Maay-Maay
  • Bosnian
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portuguese
  • Urdu

Stations with questions should contact New Hampshire SECC Chair Ed Brouder.


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