Friday, March 7, 2008


Today's comments have no relation to anything important! I just finally looked something up that has bugged me for a long time, and found it so interesting that I'm going to force feed the info to anyone who chooses to read about it!!

Sigalerts - we all "know" what they are. They're those events that screw up the morning commute! The TV broadcasters love to tell viewers all about them with the fancy maps showing red areas vs. green on the highways!

Well. For your collection of trivia info:

"SigAlerts originated in 1955 with the Los Angeles Police Department. By the early 1950s, the rapidly growing number of automobiles in Los Angeles had greatly increased the frequency and severity of traffic accidents and jams. Radio stations reported traffic conditions, but the LAPD refused to call radio stations with this information, so each station would call the LAPD, a process that tied up telephone lines and forced officers to repeat the same information again and again

In 1955, Loyd C. "Sig" Sigmon began developing a solution. Sigmon was Executive Vice President of Golden West Broadcasters (a company owned singing cowboy Gene Autry). Sigmon had worked for Golden West's station KMPC by 710 in 1941, but found himself in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II, assigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff, in charge of non-combat radio communications in the European theater. Now, he proposed to apply his knowledge of complex radio networks to the situation in Los Angeles.

Sigmon developed a specialized radio receiver and tape recorder. When the receiver picked up a particular tone, it would switch on the tape deck and record the subsequent bulletin. The device cost about $600. The LAPD's chief, William H. Parker, was interested though skeptical, warning the inventor, "We're going to name this damn thing Sigalert." More practically, he refused to use it unless the receivers were made available to all LA radio stations -- it could not be a KMPC monopoly.

Initially, half a dozen stations installed Sigmon receivers that had "Sigalert" stamped on its side. When a message had been received and recorded from the LAPD, a red light, sometimes accompanied by a buzzer, would alert the radio stations' engineers. Depending on the nature of the problem, the engineer could air the police broadcast immediately, interrupting regular programming if necessary."

There! Now we know! Happy Friday!

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