This is what the Emergency Alert test in my area looks like:
Two colors. Fixed width. Old school. Shit is going down, people, no time for graphics or kerning.
That’s why I was surprised to see this on my screen when I heard the familiar sounds of the Emergency Alert system ths past week:
It’s the CBS-specific version of the Emergency Alert graphic. Evidently, CBS feels that a graphic that evokes a city burning down is enough to make us perk up and pay attention. It's interesting that "This is a test of the" is in a smaller font. So, when it is a real event, what happens? They leave off the top line? Perhaps the letters are red too?
I'm concerned that people are going to become habituated to the above EAS message, because the graphic is too much like a commercial. That, and because there have been a number of false alerts in this new-fangled Emergency ALERT System - six in twenty years, as opposed to the original Emergency BROADCAST System, which plugged away for over thirty years with just one mistake. Which sounded like this.
It's all too easy to ignore. The tornado sirens go off once a month. so we ignore those. Even the Emergency Presidential Text Alert they debuted this past October sounds too much like an Amber Alert.
I think they should do what the cable company did when there was a tornado three miles from my house: make the screen go black and only show only the block printed words "THERE IS A TORNADO IN YOUR AREA. TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY." No weather reporters anymore, no map, nothing to see but the marching orders.
I fear no one would listen unless all the TVs and all the iPhones and all the Applebee's digital menu screens went black with all-caps white letters that say "THIS IS NOT A TEST."