Tallahassee Gets its First Electronic Billboard

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Wednesday afternoon some Tallahassee residents stopped on the side of the road to look high into the sky, not a space shuttle or a flock of birds, but a high-tech billboard that will bring the community some vital information.

"It's gonna allow us as an advertising agency to put up messages that are important to the community. We'll have our advertisers up, but when there's an Amber Alert, we'll be able to get it up there pretty darn quick. If there's a weather warning we'll be able to get it up there," said Gil Ziffer, who owns an advertising agency in Tallahassee.

Just before noon Wednesday residents stopped to watch as advertisements began rolling. A new one appears every 6.5 seconds.

"You can put emergencies up quicker like hurricane routes, evacuation routes or in case [of] missing children and stuff like that," said Caleb Williamson, who noticed while pumping his gas at a nearby gas station.

Tallahassee Police Officer John Newland says the agency will use it for Amber Alerts.

"It's another way that we can utilize and leverage technology. Bigger cities have had these for years and now all of a sudden Tallahassee has this and it’s gonna be a great tool in the long run for law enforcement," he said.

Red Cross Director Chris Floyd says he's excited to use it during Hurricane season. "I think it’s a great idea, especially when we're in an evacuation mode for a hurricane. To be able to put a message up here that Chiles High School is open as a shelter, just two or three minutes to the North will be another message for us to communicate with evacuees. So, it’s a very, very neat idea," he said.

With more than 55,000 drivers passing by each day, advertisers and local agencies say it’s a perfect way to spread a message.

As part of the agreement with the city, every time an electronic bill board goes up, five billboards the same size must come down.

Also, Channel 6 has learned another billboard is expected in the downtown area early next year.