Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Passing of Bay Area/KGO Radio News Anchor, Ted Wygant; Melanie Morgan Reflects on Working with News Legend

Bay Area News Radio anchor, Ted Wygant, passed away over the weekend. He'd been battling a myriad of health issues the past several years. 
Wygant co-anchored the KGO Morning News with Jim Dunbar --Melanie Morgan was the street reporter back in 1983 (see photo) for eight years and offered some comments on Wygant's legacy and her time at KGO. 

"Most old-timers here in the Bay Area might remember that Dunbar and Wygant created ‘The Zoo Hour’ at KGO Radio. It was an hour of anything goes before the actual news block began. Those guys were like kids. They’ broke the clock’ and all the rules, dropping commercials, adding them, airing stories that weren’t scheduled or even suitable for dainty ears, and generally refusing to do what they were told to do. AND…it was the highest rated hour of the show.”

“Ted Wygant had a child-like approach to life. He believed the best about everyone, and people responded accordingly. He was most famous for his laughter. Dunbar and Wygant would crack each other up. They couldn’t stop laughing at each other’s jokes and neither could I.
Ted once reported that cucumbers could be used for birth control. Pause. Longer pause. And then they started laughing so hard they couldn’t breath.”

“Ted was a bit of a klutz. Every morning, he’d knock over his hot beverage. The engineers were constantly yelling at him because it gummed up the board. So Ted brought a child’s sippy cup to work. Problem solved!”

"Wygant came from humble beginnings in a small town in Pennsylvania. He brought with him the love of polka music. He could bang out a great tune on his ‘cordeen, as he used to call the accordion.”

“Every single year, Dunbar and Wygant (especially Wygant) would assign me to take the Radio car 15, and careen over to Fisherman’s wharf. My job was to cover the departure of the crab boats for the beginning of the season. The REAL assignment was to scoop up as much free crab as possible, and race it back to the studio.

"The guys would happily devour the cracked crab, live on the radio

* KGO Crew 1983, Ted Wygant bottom left, Melanie Morgan, Ken Beck, Rosie Allen, Ed Baxter Top Left Jim Dunbar, Ronn Owens, Barbara Simpson, Dr. Dean Edell, Jim Eason, Lee Rodgers, Michael Krasney, Ray Taliaferro


  1. Who can forget that one hour of unscripted radio of Ted Wygant and Jim Dunbar? I think it was Dunbar who arrived at the studio about 1 minute prior to air time, or shortly thereafter. I always thought to myself that they always had a good time on the air. We have definitely never heard anything like them since they departed the airwaves.

    Your photo tells it all. KGO like it used to be.

  2. Did Ray have a voice like George Takei back then as well?

    Oh myyyyyy

    1. Hello Mr. Taliafero! I want you to know that you are very much missed, especially during these trying political times.

  3. Hi Rich,

    I was the one who wrote this on your previous blog page.

    AnonymousApril 11, 2018 at 6:27 AM

    I heard on KCBS this early morning that Ted Wygant has died. However I checked all the news sources and can't find anything about his death. Was I dreaming or did this really happen?

    I find it interesting that no other news source has reported the death of Ted Wygant. I am very sorry to hear of his death.

    Listening to Jim Dunbar and Ted Wygant back in the day was an absolute joy. I was a local teamster years ago and remember many times having to pull my truck over because I was laughing so hard. One early morning I was driving across the old Benicia Bridge and I think they were doing a weather or traffic report and they mentioned Milpitas however mispronounced it as "Milpenis"...the two of them were laughing so hard they got me laughing so hard I pulled over to the edge of the bridge to wipe the tears out of my eyes because I was laughing my ass off. They don't make radio like that anymore.

    Thank your for posting the information.

    Rest In Peace Ted...

  4. Oh my goodness, that picture should be going to the Smithsonian! Talk about the glory days of Kgo and their on air legends! And they were all together for decades. That's why we loved that station. They were simply the best at what they did- all of them.

    I can still hear Ted Wygant's sonorous voice. What a team he and Jim Dunbar made. Prayers to his family.

  5. During the Wygant era KGO was as Lloyd Lindsey Young would opine, "America's Greatest Radio Station." It was. It was so good, casual listeners like me were impressed enough to end up punching a time card at 900 Front. Dunbar & Wygant were the gatekeepers. RIP Ted. RIP KGO.

  6. Geez,,,,,,that picture brings a tear of pure nostalgic joy to my eye.......

  7. I remember stories about the likes of spiders and anchovy pizzas, possibly in the same story during their wild hour. Me thinks Dunbar is in better health than Owens is. And Dunbar is in his 90s! Neither of Ted nor Jim suffered fools gladly, either, when it came to the serious stuff. Great morning duo!

  8. Whatever happened to Dr. Dean Edell? I used to see him on KGO/Channel 7 all the time, but that was a very long time ago.

  9. Loved Dunbar and Wygant. Ted was always a great foil for Dunbar. A team like that is hard to create from scratch. It all just seemed to naturally evolve and fall into place. Nothing was ever forced, which is why they were so good. RIP Ted!

  10. I read this morning on that Don Pitts has also passed away. He was on both KGO and KYA in the late fifties and early sixties.

  11. Another great Journalist has left us. I had the great fortune of working with Ted Wygant and Jim Dunbar through those great years when the broadcast would begin with the zoo hour. I think I got a hernia from laughing so much during those years. When it came to hard news there was no one better at the mike than Ted in delivering concise reporting. There will never be another Ted and to this day I thank my lucky stars for what he along with Jim taught me about radio news. RIP Ted.

  12. Dunbar and Wygant were a big part of the "Golden Era" of KGO radio. I remember them well. I listened to them every morning going to work.
    RIP Ted Wygant

  13. Good god! Seeing all of them in one photo reminds a lot of us of how great that radio station was. (The only face I could not immediately put a name to without the key was Ken Beck.)