September 10, 2009
WFAA Introduces Weathercall, State-of-the-Art Personalized Location-Specific Weather Alerts to the Dallas-Fort Worth Market
Dallas, Texas - WFAA has launched a market-exclusive new weather warning system that allows News 8 chief meteorologist Pete Delkus to call, e-mail and/or text subscribers directly with specific information at anytime.
"WeatherCall alerts compliment what we already do with News 8 broadcasts, and severe weather special reports on the air as well as on the Web," said Delkus. "The fact that it can isolate specific locations when severe weather is approaching and send rapid alerts to home and cell phones or via e-mail is an significant addition."
When the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a severe weather warning that includes a WeatherCall subscribers' location, they will receive a phone call from WFAA. Warning calls could be made anytime of the day or night; the WeatherCall system begins notifying subscribers within 1 minute of receiving the alert from the NWS via phone calls, e-mail and/or SMS messaging. When severe weather is approaching the registered location, the system will call all the telephone numbers simultaneously, delivering WFAA's warning message, and send a message to all registered e-mail addresses with a graphic depiction of the warning on a localized, interactive Google map. Subscribers may register one location, three telephone numbers and three e-mail addresses for a nominal fee of $9.95 per year.
Recent improvements in how the NWS defines "warning areas" has resulted in significantly higher accuracy down to geographic areas, compared to the decades-old countywide warning method. WeatherCall continuously monitors the NWS' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather wire. Utilizing GIS (mapping databases) the system compares subscribers' specific locations to the location of the warning area. When a viewer registers for WeatherCall, the system assigns a precise latitude and longitude to their location. If they enter a street address the system recognizes, the service begins immediately. If there is a problem determining a location (for instance, a new housing development in the area), there are easy steps to follow to locate the viewer in the system.
Viewers may subscribe to the system and read a list of frequently asked questions about WeatherCall now at WFAA.com/weathercall.
About Belo Corp.
WFAA-TV is part of Belo Corp. (BLC), one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, with 2008 annual revenue of $733 million. The Company owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated Web sites. Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets. Belo stations rank first or second in nearly all of their local markets. Additional information is available at www.belo.com.