UNT's KNTU Radio FM 88.1 was recently recognized by the Emergency Management Association of Texas with an Outstanding Media Award. The award was presented at the Texas Homeland Security Conference in San Antonio.
The station, which is housed in the Radio, Television, Film and Performing Arts Building, works closely with the City of Denton's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to inform the public when emergency situations arise. KNTU Radio interrupts its normal programming whenever the local emergency sirens are activated, allowing OEM staff to address the public directly.
OEM staff provides public information regarding the nature of the emergency, protection measures and situational updates. In addition, as part of each month's siren test, Michael Petaluna, coordinator of Denton Emergency Management, reads a prepared public education statement live on the air.
The public education partnership has been such a success that the City of Denton has provided a remote transmitter for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), enabling staff to communicate live with the broadcast booth at the radio station and with the listening audience.
KNTU also houses an alternate siren encoder that can be used to activate the City of Denton Siren System in the event the primary location is out of service.
"This relationship is important because it provides a way for all Denton residents, including those at UNT, to be informed of what is happening when the sirens sound," says Russ Campbell, KNTU station manager and lecturer in the Department of Radio, Television and Film.
According to Campbell, the implementation of the system for an actual weather event has occurred up to a half a dozen times since the sirens were installed. However, the system is always tested once each month on the first Wednesday at noon unless there is inclement weather.
"Without this relationship there's no practical way to get that kind of information out in a timely manner," Campbell says. "It's an important way that KNTU and the university can provide a service to the community."
Campbell also notes that the Outstanding Media Award is a testament to the efforts of the KNTU staff, both past and present.
"A lot of work has gone into building this relationship and it's always gratifying to see our people get credit for great things that have come to be," Campbell says.
UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.