Quincy Newspaper stations add SMS alerts to warn viewers of weather conditions

Quincy Newspaper stations in 11 DMAs have begun sending viewers SMS messages to inform them of weather alerts on their mobile phones via the Cellit Climate service.

In beta testing since October 2009, the Cellit Climate service recently became available to viewers of KTIV-TV in Sioux City, IA; KTTC and KXLT in Rochester, MN; KWWL in Waterloo, IA; WAOW in Wausau, WI; WGEM in Quincy, IL; WKOW in Madison, WI; WQOW and WXOW in Eau Claire-La Crosse, WI; WREX in Rockford, IL; WSJV in Elkhart, IN; and WVVA in Bluefield, WV.

The Cellit Climate service relies on a rules-based engine to deliver select National Weather Service alerts to mobile phones. The system transmits alerts based on subscriber-defined preferences regarding the importance level of warnings. Subscribers also can turn off the service during portions of the day when they do not wish to be disturbed.

According to Mary Winters, Quincy Newspapers New Media Division vice president, viewers often call and e-mail to thank group stations for their coverage of severe weather events.