KGOU

KGOU Expands Emergency Weather Messaging To Digital Platforms

May 10, 2018

KGOU has begun including severe weather and other messaging capabilities on mobile devices and other digital platforms. KGOU is one of 27 public radio stations participating in a nationwide project designed to increase locally relevant emergency information to “tornado alley.” KGOU now has the capability to issue text and graphic alerts on mobile phones, HD radios, “connected car” devices, Radio Data System (RDS) displays, and in online applications.

KGOU issued the first tornado warning through this metadata project in the nation, alerting listeners and online users in parts of Oklahoma to tornado threats on May 1 and 2.

A $419,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is funding most of stations' costs for the project, implemented by the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) with the goal of helping stations generate emergency messages for digital platforms synchronized with their over-the-air audio broadcasts. The 27 participating stations are located in "tornado alley," across the U.S. Midwest, South Central and Gulf Coast regions.

According to project officials, KGOU issued the first tornado warning through this metadata project in the nation, alerting listeners and online users in parts of Oklahoma to tornado threats on May 1 and 2.

KGOU was outfitted with the hardware and software to support the alerts in late April, and final testing of the system is ongoing.

“Staying informed about the weather can be a life and death matter in Oklahoma, and we’re pleased to be on the forefront of utilizing the latest technology to keep listeners aware of severe weather and other emergency situations,” said KGOU General Manager Dick Pryor.

In the event of an emergency, an alert will be triggered by the Emergency Alert System, text explaining the nature of the emergency will be generated automatically, and it will display on automobile dashboards, mobile phones and other devices equipped to carry such messaging. Station staff also have the option of generating alerts manually.

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