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WGST traffic reporter Keith Kalland dies at 51 (atlanta traffic reporter passes away)
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^
| November 19, 2002
| By KAY POWELL and RODNEY HO
Posted on 11/19/2002 5:07:54 PM PST by anncoulteriscool
WGST traffic reporter Keith Kalland dies at 51
By KAY POWELL and RODNEY HO
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writers
Minimum wage and a free Dodge Omni lured Keith Kalland into traffic reporting in 1987.
At the time, he liked to say, it was a job somewhat below being a janitor.
"I had to do it. I needed that car," he said in a 1996 interview.
It wasn't long before he was the popular drive companion of thousands of Atlanta commuters as he reported on traffic conditions for WGST-AM, 96rock and Peach 94.9 radio stations and for WAGA-TV (Channel 5).
Mr. Kalland, 51, of Duluth died of a heart attack Monday at Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital. The body will be cremated. The memorial service is 7 p.m. Thursday at Presbyterian Church of the Resurrection. Henry Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
"He redefined the role of traffic reporter," said Eric Seidel, former WGST program director. "He made it a three-dimensional position. He not only gave the traffic, but he did it in an entertaining way. You could tell he loved every minute of it."
As a child, Mr. Kalland learned a word a day and loved playing around with the English language. He coined names for commuters -- Villa Ricardos and Cobbikazes -- and routes -- the Alpharetta Autobahn for Ga. 400.
Listeners became familiar with his "Kallandisms" such as "Stick a fork in it, it's done," when traffic was very bad. On a more sophisticated front, he'd call it the "lugubrious litany of traffic mayhem."
He would say a crash exacerbated traffic on I-75, adding, "And exacerbation is still legal in the state of Georgia." Another favorite comment was about items found on interstates, such as "the ubiquitous ladder in the roadway."
"I think he would go out of his way to find ladders in the road," said Lance Locher, vice president of Clear Channel Atlanta, Mr. Kalland's employer.
Mr. Kalland gave early morning and late afternoon traffic reports, spending up to five hours a day in the helicopter. He had close calls in 1999 when a funnel cloud threatened his helicopter, which landed safely, and when a wrong-way driver nearly hit him on the Downtown Connector.
He had been a sports reporter for the Rockdale Neighbor and other weekly newspapers when he took the traffic reporting job. He spent weeks driving around metro Atlanta learning major roads and alternate routes.
His command of metro roads and alternate routes amazed Kim Peterson, WGST's afternoon drive time host. "In another life, he would have been a cartographer," Mr. Peterson said.
Survivors include two sons, John Kalland and Robby Kalland, both of Conyers; and his parents, Emma and Bob Kalland of Signal Mountain, Tenn.
TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: atlanta; trafficreporter
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I know most people outside of atlanta probably dont care about this but this guy was a really funny guy and well loved. He was a traffic reporter who actually made atlanta traffic humouous and thats not easy! God bless him. RIP Me. Kalland
If his traffic reports actually had anything to do with reality then he is a saint.
In Miami the traffic reports are so pathetic you know they are faked.
posted on 11/19/2002 5:10:20 PM PST
To: anncoulteriscool; FreedomPoster; RobFromGa; LBGA; Apple Pan Dowdy; Atlantian; mhking; ...
Anyone fron the Atlanta area should have been more than familiar with Keith Kalland's gravel-voiced delivery of the traffic. .45MAN and I would chuckle over his candid portrayals of the plight of the "Gwinnetians" from the serene safety of our living room.
Very little has made me feel grounded here in my 4 years in the metro-Atlanta area. Keith Kalland's ironic (yet accurate) reporting on the horrific traffic situations was one of the few things that made living here tolerable. He will be sorely missed.
posted on 11/19/2002 5:16:19 PM PST
He is also survived by his wife. Not sure why that was omitted in the report.
Very shocking loss.
I'll miss him. He always said he had a face for radio. 8-/
posted on 11/19/2002 5:19:00 PM PST
Reasonably reality-based, and he had a number of erudite stock phrases that were hilarious.
"On the Outer Loop at Peachtree Industrial, there's the Ubiquitous Ladder in the Roadway slowing traffic back to 85."
I am sad to hear this- I got through the maze of traffic from Marietta to Alpharetta ,GA by avoiding roads he warned me of for years- Way too young-
posted on 11/19/2002 5:28:47 PM PST
i will miss kk as well.....i listened to him for years in atlanta....fork in it and all....i have missed his 'company' and familiar comments much since moving away....him and the kimmer...
and i STILL can't remember what perspe-casity....means...i can't even spell it.....unless i look it up.....
god's speed kk...
What sad news! I always liked him and enjoyed listening to his traffic reports. It isn't true that he had a face for radio. I met him a couple of times at WGST Listener Lunches and he was quite handsome. What I remember more than that was how warm and kind he was to all his fans.
posted on 11/19/2002 5:36:58 PM PST
What I remember more than that was how warm and kind he was to all his fans.
That's nice to know. So many times people are spoiled by their "fame." From the looks of it, his memorial service in Conyers will be packed.
Sigh - this news knocked the wind out of my evening.
posted on 11/19/2002 5:39:36 PM PST
gonna miss the Prince of the Perimeter...
posted on 11/19/2002 5:41:08 PM PST
Sorry I never had the opportunity to hear he, he sounds absolutely delightful.
Condolences to the family, and all his many fans.
posted on 11/19/2002 5:46:49 PM PST
For four years I commuted into and out of Atlanta, all the while listening to WGST; Sean, Rush, The Kimmer, and always, Keith Kalland.
Kalland got me through more than one disaster on the connector, and I always appreciated his humor, professionalism, and wit.
I've before and since lived in L.A., NYC, and DFW...Never heard anyone better.
R.I.P. and Thanks
posted on 11/19/2002 5:50:51 PM PST
Kimmer took a call this afternoon. The guy calling said his 4-year-old daughter, riding with him this AM, upon hearing of Keith's death, said "daddy, God must need someone to tell all the angels where to go".
I think about Kimmer lost it.
about Kimmer about lost it.
I worked with Keith when I was at WGST (I did weekend news there in 98 & 99), and I have to tell you that he was one of the good guys. He was just as genuine and generous off the air as he was on the air.
One of the wildest times I had on the air at 'GST was doing the '98 Peachtree Road Race with Keith and Pete Davis - Keith teased me incessantly about being the "play-by-play" guy, since I was at the finish line, calling the race as the winners crossed the finish line. We had a ball.
I knew Keith was sick, even though I hadn't talked to him in a couple of years. When he got out of the hospital about a month or so ago, I thought about dropping him a line, but I never did. You never know until too late...
posted on 11/19/2002 6:11:54 PM PST
I remember listening to Keith Kalland during my Georgia Tech days. My condolences to his family and the WGST crew. We could use someone like him in the Detroit area.
I remember back in the mid 90's or so....mother Teresa was at a catholic church in downtown atlanta and the meeting ended around 5 o'clock and kinda caused a major traffic jam...i remember Keith Kalland saying reporting on the traffic mess: "if you think i'm going to bash mother teresa from 10,000 feet up in the air, no way" LOL!
Keith was the greatest. I remember the good ol days when WGST had Hannity and the Kimmer. They had to put bullet proof glass in the booth because Hannity was having way too much fun bedeviling the local nation on islam whackos. lol WGST was great to listen to back then--nonstop conservative mayhem.
No one else will ever be able to tell Wayne to shut up in quite the same way. We will miss you Keith Kalland. RIP.
posted on 11/19/2002 6:53:50 PM PST
I loved this guy. He's the only traffic reporter that ever made me laugh, and he was spot on with his reports. I depended on him for traffic info every morning before I moved out from the perimeter. His friday rush hour rain commute commentary was classic.
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