OJP Seal
AMBER Alert, Best Practices Guide for Broadcasters and Other Media Outlets

Frequency of Message

The frequency of an AMBER Alert issued through EAS and other broadcast venues is a critical component of the AMBER Alert plan. Broadcast media representatives sometimes wrestle with the issue of how frequently an AMBER Alert message should be broadcast. AMBER Alert coordinators should work closely with the primary, cable, and secondary broadcasters in their area to establish a clear plan of operation for how quickly and how often the primary alerting station will activate the EAS for an AMBER Alert message. These decisions should be delineated in formal MOUs or other agreements before the AMBER Alert plan is put in place.

The following are some guidelines for frequency and content of AMBER Alerts:

  • Primary stations should determine the best procedures for providing updated information for further EAS activation or crawl until the law enforcement agency terminates the Alert.

  • The initial activation by the local primary station will give every media outlet information about the abduction. Local media outlets, working with their AMBER Alert coordinator, can determine if and how they will participate, whether they will interrupt all programs with the initial AMBER Alert message, delay the AMBER Alert message until the next break, or relay the information through another method such as a television crawl or newsbreak.

  • The television message can take the form of an audio announcement and/or an onscreen visual announcement.

  • Television broadcasters can choose to include a repetitive crawling message at the bottom of the screen or do cut-ins with news anchors or other personnel.

  • Any message should include a phone number for the public to call. In audio reports, the phone number should be repeated at least twice during each announcement.
Previous Contents Next