But I have seen some other areas do a thing which I thought was odd at first, but makes sense. That is they have a one to two second 4 way red between swapping the roads that are given the green.
This is standard practice here in Sydney (Oz). There is an all red that is usually long enough to clear the intersection of any cars that run the orange before the next green is given.
This seems to be the most sensible way of doing things.
I hear the marked difference in the audio quality between the two also, so it is not just you.
Of course it may not be MTV after all: as nocsript shows:
"An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of code." -- an anonymous programmer