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whud storm center : Radio stations WHUD and K104 offer snow-closing text alerts December 11, 2008

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FALLSBURG — When the next snowstorm blows through, wouldn’t it be nice to get a beep on your cell phone and a text message when there’s a two-hour delay or school closing?

A radio station figured it would be. Beacon’s 100.7 WHUD and its sister station, K104.7, are providing free text messaging of delays and cancellations for numerous school districts and government offices and agencies around the region — including many in Ulster and Orange and a few as far-flung as Sullivan.

The service, offered by the stations’ owner, Pamal Broadcasting, is free, although some cell phone providers might charge for the texting service.

To sign up, a user goes to the station’s Web page, http://www.whud.com, fills out contact information, then checks a box for districts they want to receive notices from. It is available where school districts or agencies have signed up with the storm-report service.

“We just kicked it off,” said WHUD’s program director Steven Petrone, adding that the station has tested the text-messaging service and is confident it has worked out the bugs. “We’ll see how it works when we get our first big snowstorm.”

The station is also looking into adding notifications and instant weather reports by e-mail. Districts can sign up for the texting service at no charge.

The Fallsburg School District has been using WHUD’s storm service for years. Otherwise, only Fallsburg, Monticello, the Hebrew Day School of Sullivan and Sullivan County Community College are signed up in Sullivan.

Fallsburg Superintendent Ivan Katz says it is a no-brainer for school districts to join. “This is just another vehicle,” for communication, he said.