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Radio AM to FM: November 26, 1999

Mr. KABC Blows One

Marc Germain, aka Mr. KABC, is generally one of Los Angeles' more intelligent talk personalities. But he blew it big time recently when he made a proclamation that SigAlerts are nothing more than a slap in the face to Southern California's commuters.

In responding to a caller's question regarding the meaning of a "SigAlert," Germain stated that "there are stations all across Southern California that choose to thumb their noses at listeners with some arcane salute to a former radio traffic reporter, Loyd Sigmon. At KABC (790 AM) we call it what listeners will best understand, a 'KABC traffic alert.'"

To clarify the situation (realizing that Germain just insulted not only Sigmon but his own listeners, who he apparently considers too unintelligent to learn new things), a SigAlert is indeed named after Sigmon.

But Sigmon was not a traffic reporter; he was instead Chief Engineer at Gene Autry's KMPC (now KDIS, 710 AM). In the 1950s, Sigmon developed the technology for a closed-circuit radio station notification system in which stations throughout Southern California could receive traffic reports from the California Highway Patrol all at once.

Prior to the adaption of the system designed by Sigmon, the CHP would have to call every station individually by telephone; the new system so revolutionized radio traffic reporting that the CHP decided to honor Sigmon by calling any unscheduled traffic tie-up of 30 minutes or more a SigAlert.

Apparently Germain follows the Gen-X philosophy of "what have you done for me lately." Following his logic, we had better change the names of most of the parks and many of the streets in Los Angeles and surrounding areas because, to use his words, continuing to use a name as a tribute is a "silly tradition."

I expect he will write a scathing reply to me as he usually does.

Speaking of scathing

Is there in existence anywhere a morning radio show worse than Star's (KYSR 98.7 FM) Danny and Jamie?

Sure, I'll admit it was a stroke of genius to pair these two together -- Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce and one-third of the former worst show in Los Angeles, Jamie Frosty and Frank: Jamie White. Without genius and perseverance, one might not have been able to find someone more annoying than White to pair with her.

The pair have no on-air chemistry; on the few occasions that White attempts to talk about something interesting, Bonaduce does nothing but interrupt both her and the callers. I have personally never heard a program worse than this one, and I'll be amazed if it lasts past January.

On the other hand

Not everyone at KYSR is bad. Afternoon dude Ryan Seacrest is good, and he just signed a 2-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Star through 2001. Kind of makes you wonder if Star has two programmers: one for mornings and one for afternoons?

The morning one should be fired.

And if that weren't enough

I made a mistake regarding the Music Spotlight radio program. OK, a few mistakes. The live broadcast can be heard at 10 am Saturdays at In my column two weeks ago I left off the "fm" part of the address. This broadcast relies on a JAVA-enabled web browser and does not need a RealAudio plugin.

The archives, which ARE in RealAudio format, are found at


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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