Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery
When a storm hit the area, leaving inches of ice on power lines and 300,000 people without power for days and even weeks,KTTS-FM in Springfield, Mo., was on the air throughout the ordeal. With listeners phoning in tips, the station was able to tell listeners where to get lanterns, batteries, emergency shelter, free food, candles, firewood, propane and gas cans, as well as hotline numbers for emergency management units and electric companies. When the station began hearing of a kerosene shortage and price-gouging, KTTS partnered with locally owned Preston Oil to send a tanker filled with kerosene on the road to areas hardest hit by the storm. Carloads of listeners went to the "kerosene caravan" for help. In addition to sending staff to the caravan stops, the news team tirelessly worked to get information from area utility companies and emergency management teams, while station engineers struggled to keep ice off the radio towers. The on-air personalities answered hundreds of phone calls and worked by flashlight and candlelight. The lifeline provided by the station is best articulated by its listeners. "Our twin babies and other four children huddled with us around the fireplace while we listed to your awesome up-to-date broadcasting about this storm," the Sawyer family wrote in a letter to the station. "KTTS kept us going … you, the on-air broadcasters, have brought listening to the radio down to an even more personal level. Thank you so much for everything you do every day as you continue to impact lives through the radio waves."
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