When a tornado warning is issued, getting the word out quickly and efficiently is of utmost importance. Our cell phones are a great way to get alerts, but when we’re driving we shouldn’t be looking at them.
For drivers, Wingate Media Group will now be broadcasting tornado warnings on their billboards.
Ike Wingate explains, “We’re one of the very few locally owned billboard companies, and we look at billboards as community assets. So it’s not just about advertising, it’s also about providing useful information to the community. And so, what we have now done is turned on tornado alerts for the areas where the tornado is warned. And so our digital billboards will then cease advertising any advertisements, and will then go to just a tornado warning static image until the tornado warning is over.”
Wingate Media group is starting off with a few billboards in Davidson, Bedford, and Giles counties, but they have plans to expand to many more areas. The billboards will also be using the “polygon warning” system, meaning they will only activate in the specific areas that are being warned.
“Every electronic billboard you see, or digital billboard, it has a computer on board,” Wingate explained. “And the latitude and longitude are marked specifically. So any time a warning goes out, it’s going to look at exactly where that warning is, and if our latitude and longitude is inside that area, it’s going to take over the billboard.”
Wingate says he wants to give credit to Ashby Street Outdoor Advertising in Arkansas for coming up with the idea and sharing it with his company here in Tennessee.
Wingate Media Group also has plans to add the tornado warnings to their digital screens inside local establishments, such as restaurants, nail salons, and gyms.