Wednesday, August 8, 2012

KCBS activates Emergency-Alert System only there was No Emergency; Shell Boo-Boo at Martinez Refinery

Lots of red faces at KCBS Wednesday morning.

Shortly before 7: 30 during the Morning News, the station activated the Emergency-Alert System, (which goes out to almost all other TV and radio stations in the Bay Area), advising residents of an incident at the Shell Refinery in Martinez and that a "shelter in place" was in effect. Oh no, not again! Uh, wait a second.

Just moments later, anchor Stan Bunger said it was all a big mistake, courtesy of Contra Costa officials.

Contra Costa Health Services told KPIX someone at Shell pushed a wrong button. They are looking into what happened.

Curiously, twenty minutes later, KCBS again ran the alert, saying that the earlier alert was a mistake. Me thinks that was unnecessary and that a simple explanation would have sufficed. I'm not sure listeners were thrilled with the second "alert."

Shortly after 8,  KCBS News Director, Ed Cavagnaro, explained to listeners the rudimentary method of the ERS system alert and how it's applied in Bay Area broadcasting circles. Good move. That said, this gaffe was a reminder that when you hear that most annoying TONE, be advised you may be, indeed, be hearing a ..."THIS IS ONLY A TEST!"

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  1. wow. what a coincidence. Richmond, now Martinez.

    smells like...Stuxnet.

    Stuxnet is designed to show normal, non-emergency settings on monitors. Things can be turning very bad but the screens show no emergencies until something gives.

    Or in this case a false alarm......

  2. Even worse, sister station KPIX on Monday night ran a crawl saying that authorities were telling Richmond residents to evacuate because of the refinery fire. No kidding. I tuned in at around 8pm, so I don't know how long it had been running. Several minutes later, Dana King did make a correction, but WOW! Talk about a major screw up in a critical situation!

  3. Can't blame KCBS for this error. They are the lead station for the EAS and if they are asked to activate the system they have to do so.

  4. Too many managers at KCBS who have too
    Much on their hands. It starts with the News Director and its time to shakeup the breakfast club of writers surfing the Internet instead of churning out the same copy for 5 hours.