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.
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 G. Jensen
MWB Broadcasting, LLC