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Oklahoma tornadoes: TV stations make extensive plans for tornado coverage

Television coverage helped warn Oklahoma residents well in advance of tornadoes.
BY MEL BRACHT mbracht@opubco.com Published: May 26, 2011
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Days before the tornadoes formed, Oklahoma City television stations were mapping out their coverage. Tuesday morning, storm chasers and news crews were positioned throughout the state.

Their coverage helped warn residents of the tornadoes, allowing them to take safety precautions.

“Probably the best part of that is that people listened,” KOCO-5 President Brent Hensley said. “People heeded the warnings and many people were off the road when the things were coming through.”

And people watched.

At 5 p.m., during the height of the tornado threat, almost 72 percent of the TV households in the market were tuned to one of four stations that provided weather coverage. According to Nielsen ratings, KFOR-4 received a 25.9, followed by KWTV-9, 24.3; KOCO, 18.8, and KOKH-25, 2.6.

The stations used websites and social media such as Facebook to alert residents. News9.com set a record for traffic, said Rob Krier, vice president and chief operating officer for Griffin Communications.

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