Westwood One buys Sigalert


Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but clearly Westwood One is now able to make acquisitions after the financial restructuring it underwent in 2009. The deal announced Tuesday to buy Sigalert will give WW1 a visual traffic information tool for its radio and TV clients to use across multiple platforms, including, of course, on-air for TV.

According to Wikipedia, the term “Sig Alert” was coined by the California Highway Patrol to refer to “any unplanned event that causes the closing of one lane of traffic for 30 minutes or more.” To date, the company Sigalert has been operating only in six California markets and two in Arizona to deliver traffic tie-up information via the Internet, mobile phones, PDAs and TV broadcasts. WW1 says it will expand the service from those eight markets to 65 in 2010.

WW1 said it acquired the Sigalert business from Jaytu Technologies LLC, a regional provider of on-air, on-line and mobile traffic information.

“Sigalert has become a source for the most up-to-date, useful traffic information in Southern California, one of the most highly congested traffic areas in the country, as well as in Northern California and Arizona. It is a perfect platform for Westwood One to expand our digital business and provide the most useful on-line traffic information to our radio, television, and digital affiliates,” said WW1 CEO Rod Sherwood.

Sigalert displays freeway and highway maps with traffic speed and accident details in a simple, intuitive and easy-to-use interface on the Web, mobile phones and PDAs, and television traffic reports. It also provides personalized traffic alerts to consumers to enable them to identify and avoid traffic delays on their daily routes.

“We are committed to supporting our radio station affiliates in their local markets with a traffic product that gives their audiences easy access to the information they want and need across multiple products,” said Steve Kalin, President, Westwood One’s Metro Traffic, of the plan to rapidly roll the product out to additional markets.

“Sigalert’s digital presentation will provide Metro’s TV affiliates with a ‘three-screen’ best in class solution for on air, on line and mobile applications. It allows television affiliates to have a consistent look and feel across their TV, Web and mobile products,” said Jonathan Marshall, Exec. VP – Business Affairs.

Sigalert was launched in 1998 by its co-founders, Jonathan Berke and Joel Johnstone, who will bring their engineering and digital expertise to WW1.