Radio's Multi-Platform Reach Informs, Alerts Joplin, MO Tornado Victims
May 25, 2011 at 11:10 AM (PT)
The death toll from a tornado that tore through JOPLIN, MO, keeps rising, as the AP's latest figure is now set at 116, with more expected. City Manager MARK ROHR told reporters. "Residents in the southwest MISSOURI city braced for news of fatalities after the vicious tornado flattened buildings, tossed cars and hurled debris up to 70 miles away."
"I would say 75% of the town is virtually gone," RED CROSS spokesperson KATHY DENNIS said.
The ZIMMER RADIO GROUP cluster in JOPLIN went to continuous team coverage on all of its stations; Talk KZRG-A's AM signal on 1310 was off but the station's news coverage was airing on its FM translator K275BD as well as sister Top 40 KSYN (KISSIN' 92.5), Country KIXQ (KIX 102.5), AC KJMK (LITE ROCK 93.9), Classic Rock KXDG (BIG DOG 97.9), and Talk KZYM-A (AM 1230 THE TALKER).
KZRG staffers have virtually lived on the phone, getting information on the missing from listeners and encouraging callers to donate blood and other essentials. The station also used its FACEBOOK page to spread news on the whereabouts of numerous tornado victims.
ZIMMER/JOPLIN OM CHAD ELLIOT told ALL ACCESS that "All of our staffers are okay, but seven of them lost everything. We’ve set up a collection center in the parking lot of the FOOD FOR US grocery story on 32nd St., which is next door to the stations. We’re collecting food and toiletry items -- ESPECIALLY toiletry items, not just for folks in the shelters, but for rescuers who have come from other communities."
One of those staffers who "lost everything" was KSYN APD/MD/afternoon host STEVE KRAUS, who told ALL ACCESS, "I'm good. Lost everything, but missed it by about 10 minutess… left home... came to the station.. .and it roared through my living room."
The stations are located on the outskirts of town, so they missed the brunt of the storm, which ripped right through the middle of town.
KZRG's weather coverage was augmented by ENVISION RADIO NETWORKS' VIRTUALNWS weather service, with meteorologist JOHN WETHERBEE in GEORGIA on-call all weekend feeding the station with weather reports. Hear a clip of WETHERBEE's reports for the ZIMMER cluster by clicking here.