Mark Jensen’s Tornado Broadcast

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To the Crew of Smarts Broadcast Systems,

I want to say Thank You for your Smart Touch System!

On May 28th, 2013 a total of seven tornadoes touched down in Central Nebraska with five active tornadoes on the ground at any given time. After the second tornado warning was issued I sent the entire staff home to seek shelter.  Our KAWL/KTMX studios are just south of town in a steel building with no basement and a 320’ tower right out the back door. With my staff gone, except for one daring single announcer who wanted to stay to answer phones, I was on the air covering the storm. I was following images from a newer radar system, but didn’t see the tornado that came down and jumped over the interstate just south of us.

Tornado

The picture above shows the tornado, a tree, and our tower just left of the tree. I was on the air for around 30 minutes after I sent everyone home, when the phone lines lit up with calls from weather spotters telling us to get out.  I looked down at the radar and could see a hook just behind us within a mile. I told our listeners we were going to stay simulcasting KAWL/KTMX, but I had to leave the building for my own safety. I switched things over to music and took off.  In my rear view mirror I could see it heading straight for the tower and I thought my tower and building were going to be destroyed … but the tail lifted up and it changed directions moving to the east.

While heading down the road I called into my Smart Touch System and continued to warn listeners of the tornadoes in the area. I was able to make it to a Rural Public Power Company building for my safety. Everyone was in the safe room except for the guy who let me in the side door. As I entered the building our station was blaring all over the office. With the exception of a little echo effect I was able to continue to ask our listeners to seek shelter and give them as much information as I had when I left the station. The next day everyone was talking about my ability to stay on the air even after I left the building. I was even broadcasting while driving back to the station, only to find the generator was running to keep us on the air. One of the tornadoes had taken a center pivot and wrapped it up into some power lines.

The aftermath of these storms left over a million dollars in damage to buildings and farm equipment, but luckily no one was hurt. The storm skirted around the city of York, Nebraska.

I tell you this story to let you know how grateful I am to have your equipment and software at my studios. The Smart Touch System has made my life easier and my sports and news department love it. I would say the Smart Touch System ranks right up there with digital recorders, and we love using it.

Mark Jensen

Mark G. Jensen

MWB Broadcasting, LLC

About Henry Mowry

Henry grew up listening to the World's Happiest Broadcasters on WHB/Kansas City. He found his way to Los Angeles, where he did radio promotions for Six Flags Magic Mountain. From there, he had a 22-year run with Radio & Records, doing everything from national radio buys to regional night club promotions to eventually becoming Director of Sales for R&R. After a couple of years working with Radio-Info.com, he became Director of Marketing for Smarts Broadcast Systems.
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