It can’t be a happy day for the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as they absorb a flood of reports about bizarre results at some TV and radio outlets from today’s first-ever national test of the Emergency Alert System. Viewers and listeners flocked to Twitter and Facebook after the 30-second alert at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT. Some DirecTV customers said they just heard Lady Gaga singing “Paparazzi,” The New York Times says. Several TV stations had minutes of silence. That included Los Angeles’ KABC: It posted the EAS sign without audio, and several minutes later anchors mics were dead. Some radio listeners said that they just heard background noise or nothing at all. Time Warner Cable customers in New York said they saw no sign of a test. “We do know that in many places, the Emergency Alert Notification flowed through to viewers without a hitch,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said. “However, we also know that in some places, it did not.” Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told ABC News that he’s “concerned that we are probably seeing more failures than what we thought. But we didn’t know what we didn’t know. If you don’t test you can’t fix. … I apologize for the disruptions that people went through. But we need to test things to find out what works and what doesn’t work.” The 30,000 communications services that participated in the test will report their results within 45 days. “Based on preliminary data, large regions of the country received the test but some areas did not,” says FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett. “We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.”
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