Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Sun Jan 2 04:50:57 UTC 2005

BEHIND THE WHEEL; 'Traffic Talk' Translates Into Tie-Ups Avoided; Radio
reporting on freeway conditions has a lingo all its own. But does it drive
home the message to motorists?; [Home Edition]
LISA LEFF. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Feb 19, 2002. pg. B.2

 " And what about the ubiquitous "SigAlert"? For the record, the CHP defines
it as an unscheduled lane closure lasting at least half an hour.

The familiar phrase, universally understood as meaning a bad traffic tie-up,
was created in the mid-1950s by LAPD Police Chief William H. Parker as a
tongue-in-cheek tribute to broadcast pioneer Loyd C. Sigmon.

Sigmon, in a bid to improve ratings on the radio station he co- owned with
Gene Autry, persuaded Parker to participate in an experiment in which
officers would alert the station over special shortwave receivers whenever a
freeway delay or other emergency was developing.

As local legend has it, the reticent police chief supposedly quipped, "We're
going to name this damn thing 'SigAlert.'"

And the expression got stuck, just like all the baffled commuters."

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