Wondering Why The Lawton TV Channel Focuses So Much On Texas Weather?
It seems that the Lawton social media sites go through the same cycle every spring. When our legendary severe weather starts to happen, the focus seems to be elsewhere in the coverage, especially from our local Lawton television source, but there's a reason for it.
Here's the scenario... A few days ago there were two tornado-warned storms in the regional area happening at the same time. One was due-west of Lawton, straight down Highway 62 out by the Texas border near a tiny town called Hollis. (Home of SWOK's best burger) The other tornado-warned storm was nearly 200 miles southwest of Lawton, way out on the edge of the local coverage map between the small town of Dickens, TX and Paducah.
Since tornadoes are such destructive and unpredictable phenomena, it's understandable that almost all television stations drop their entertainment network streams and start what they call "Wall-to-Wall Coverage" of these potentially deadly weather events. After all, TV and radio stations are licensed to serve the public's best interests, not just entertain the masses. It's their responsibility in those moments. As such, the wall-to-wall coverage began.
Here's the rub and why so many people complain... Our local weather team put a majority of their emphasis and efforts on the Texas tornado storm rather than the Oklahoma tornado storm that was twice as close to home. The glaring question is "why?"
If you're one of those left wondering this same thing, you're not alone. When I first moved to Lawton, I also found it curious how the local television media would chase storms across areas far away in Texas even when things were just as serious much closer to home. Chasing storms through far-off places like Munday, Graham, Throckmorton, and Bowie as our own local towns like Snyder, Fletcher, Elgin, Duncan, and Chickasha would get hammered, all without a mention.
Over the years I've had the pleasure of getting to know some of those in the media. Some are still around and others have moved on to bigger and brighter things, but the conversation always seemed cohesively the same.
Now let me give you a disclaimer... I'm no journalist, I'm not quoting sources, I'm just sharing with you my own opinion that developed out of so many conversations on this topic.
The conclusion I've come to over the years is that our local television station puts so much emphasis on Texas coverage because that's probably where the majority of their audience is.
We've talked in the past about how Lawton is a veritable media desert when compared to the towns that surround us. From the time I moved here in 2006 til I cut the cord on TV service a few years ago, Lawton's local TV coverage was limited to our local TV station plus the few Wichita Falls stations... but if you lived in Duncan, Elgin, Cache, Faxon, Walters, or anywhere else that isn't Lawton, you at least had the choice of more "local" stations in your TV subscription, including those big Oklahoma City channels.
As you and I have watched the severe weather coverage year in and year out, that emphasis is still put on Texas weather ahead of Oklahoma weather (until it gets really close to home in Lawton), and I think that's because even our own local television station understands the communities outside of Lawton are probably tuned in to the big OKC stations, so why waste your time trying to inform a public that's likely not watching?
The two big OKC stations (KFOR and KWTV) cover the entire western half of the state plus a county or two east of the entire stretch of I-35 with a massive team of weather chasers, spotters, helicopters, and infinite resources that deliver A+ instant coverage to every community on this half of the state. So while your gut instinct is to question the local Lawton TV media on their lack of Oklahoma coverage, the people of SWOK are probably much better represented with infinitely more resources.
If you had a choice, you'd probably pick the big city stations too.
The North Central Plains area of Texas probably doesn't have an option like that. Too far from Dallas or Amarillo for dedicated coverage, same/same with Lubbock and Abilene. It's the big three in Wichita Falls and Lawton that provide likely all of their weather coverage, and I'm sure if you lived out in the middle of nowhere Texas, you'd have a deep appreciation for the Okies looking out for you too.
If you live in Lawton but would like to gain that big-city type of severe weather coverage, there are a few options. I use a big amplified HDTV antenna. Gets me all of the channels I'd want to watch plus full network coverage from Wichita Falls up through OKC... but this will require a monster, exterior-mounted, and powered antenna. The cheap ones at Walmart won't get it done.
If you'd prefer to stream, most TV streaming services will allow you to select your coverage based on zip code. When I had Hulu Live, I used the 73099 Yukon, OK zip code to unlock OKC-based channels.
There is a far easier method to acquire those big-city channels for dedicated SWOK weather coverage nowadays... You can just download the station apps and have relevant information at your fingertips, streaming KFOR 4-Warned and News9 KWTV's live coverage to any device... Cell phone, tablet, laptop, Firestick, Roku, etc...