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National Association of Broadcasters

KOBI and KOTI Provide Life-Saving Fire Coverage

Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery
Posted on 10/7/2020

California Oregon Broadcasting’s KOBI and KOTI Medford, Ore., provided life-saving coverage of the Almeda wildfires that destroyed over 2,600 residences and more than 180 businesses in September. They supplemented regular newscasts by continuously crawling the most current evacuation level information for residents in the areas being affected. During the fast-moving, devastating fire, they streamed a live view from their Sky Cam, accompanied by scanner audio from the local emergency services personnel. Local residents used this information source as they prepared to evacuate.

They also created an on-line resource guide that coordinated information for evacuees on where to stay, eat, and get needed supplies, and simultaneously to point generous community members to places to donate food, clothing, and necessities, as well as funds set up to help with urgent needs as well as short and long-term rebuilding. As of September 30th, this page had been accessed over 11,000 times by users.

“KOBI has been essential during all of these fires,” said viewer Randy McKay. “In Ashland, we were trapped on one side of the fire while my mom was on the other needing to be evacuated from harm’s way at her home in Talent and we could not reach her. It was panic-inducing. And when first the internet and then cellular communications failed, KOBI was the more reliable and constant source of information.”

“I survived by watching Facebook KOBI-TV because they kept a live feed of the video from the manor and live broadcast of the dispatch where I could hear all the evacuation notices and knew the direction the fire was headed,” said viewer Angalee O’Connor.

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