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May 21, 2013
Dennis Wharton
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NAB Statement on Local Broadcasters' Coverage of Oklahoma Tornado

WASHINGTON, D.C. In response to local radio and television broadcasters providing lifeline news coverage of yesterday's devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, the following statement can be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith:

"NAB salutes our Oklahoma broadcasting brethren who are performing a public service that simply cannot be replicated by any other communications technology. Time and again during a crisis, local radio and TV stations have saved countless lives with 'boots-on-the-ground' reporting and advanced weather meteorology. There is no doubt that local broadcasters face new competitive threats in the form of social media, SmartPhones and the latest apps. But it is equally true that broadcasting's 'one-to-everyone' transmission architecture remains indispensable as a lifeline service in times of danger."

The following statement can be attributed to Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Vance Harrison:

"Television stations along with their radio station partners provided severe weather coverage which was accurate and timely. Countless lives were saved due to the extraordinary efforts of every broadcaster when it really mattered. As we've seen during every single severe weather event, Oklahomans have relied on the experience and reliability of their local broadcasters to keep them out of harm's way."

klahoma Governor Mary Fallin thanked local media at a press conference in Moore, OK last night for providing wall-to-wall coverage of the approaching storm and informing people to find shelter. Below is a transcript of her remarks (media-related remarks begin at 3:25 mark of video):

"I want to say thank you so very much to the media. The media has done a superb job over the last couple of days of keeping people informed about the current weather conditions, especially our weathermen and those that have been on the ground driving and calling and tracking the storm itself.

"As I visited around Bethel Acres today, the trailer park that lost so many homes and lost some people, and also around Carney, Oklahoma, and Highway 177 in Shawnee, I had many people come up and say, because of the media and their rapid response and reporting on the track of the storms, they were able to get to a storm shelter and be safe."

Gov. Fallin also spoke to NBC's "Today" this morning about cellular network outages and their impact on recovery efforts. Below is a transcript of her remarks (remarks about cellphones begin at 0:50 mark of video):

"One of the things we've had challenges with is that our cell phone service and our telephone service throughout the city has been dead. As you can imagine immediately after the tornado struck I couldn't even call my own cabinet secretaries. We had to use handheld radios to get in touch with people. It was very challenging with the phone networks itself, power's been out in this area, and there was so much going on at a particular time, people rushing up to the scenes, coming in from all over."

The New York Times - Helicopters Bring Viewers Vivid Images of Tornado

Inside Radio - Radio marshals resources in Oklahoma City

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

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