We investigated how that could happen.
The Anchorage Police Department asked state troopers to activate the Amber Alert system Wednesday afternoon.
“They submit the request for the initiation to go off, and they are direct feed, we get the information, and send it off,” said Capt. Barry Willson with the Alaska State Troopers.
But after the alert, state troopers received a few complaints.
“(There were) quite a few comments that the audio that really went out that the audio was really garbled,” said Bryan Fisher with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The state Division of Homeland Security says there could be many reasons for that.
In Anchorage, those stations are KFQD and KNBA.
Television and radio stations in Anchorage listen to those stations for the alert and rebroadcast it themselves.
“Anywhere in that daisy chain there could be various technical issues with the reception the audio quality,” Fisher said.
The Division of Homeland Security says sometimes the audio quality from the dispatch center can be poor.
“That could be an issue, it was not last night, we verified that the message was sent, all 3 or 4 that were transmitted last night that came out of Fairbanks,” Fisher said.
So the state says that leaves possible transmission problems from the various radio and TV stations that receive and carry the signal.
“Often times we find there are receiver issues, if they're listening to KFQD, the receivers that are listening might not be tuned correctly. They might not have a good antenna listening,” Fisher said.
Because each Amber Alert message goes through several different steps before you might hear or see it, the state says those transmission problems can add up.
“At the very end of the chain the viewing or listening public could see or hear a degradation of audio,” Fisher said.
Troopers say it's going to take a lot of work and a lot of time to figure out who or what caused all the confusion Wednesday night.
Despite the message distortion, the state says the Amber Alert system worked, because it got people's attention and got them heading online to get more information.
Troopers say that while they got some complaints that the message was distorted, they say other people have told them they heard the message just fine.
Channel 2's director of engineering Lance Hankins said he believes the problem with the message on Channel 2 was not with any of Channel 2's transmission equipment, but problems with background noise when the message was recorded and other problems at the state level.
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