Ted Thomas and KCBS Radio Airplane in 1976

California Historical Radio Society/Bay Area Radio Museum

"Traffic And Weather Together"

The Never-Ending Story

May 22, 2018 - 3:45 am

KCBS 740 license plate
From the start of the all news format, back when California license plates looked like this, traffic reports have been a key portion of the mix.

The Bay Area may not have had the 5,000,000-plus registered vehicles it has today--but it also didn't have a BART system, a ferry system, or as many freeway lanes as today's commuters have at their disposal.

The photo at the top of this page shows Ted Thomas, a familiar name to KCBS Radio listeners in the 1970's. As traffic became a bigger and bigger part of Bay Area life,  KCBS Radio increased the frequency of its traffic reports and made a point of mentioning them in its advertising and marketing.

1970 KCBS Radio traffic ad

1970 "Sky Drivers" newspaper ad

KCBS  Radio AAA "Motor Land Magazine" ad















Through the 1980's and 1990's, KCBS Radio built on the traffic-reporting franchise, beginning to refer to "traffic and weather together" in the mid-80's.

Traffic Central team circa 1988
Photo courtesy Don Bastida
KCBS Radio-Shadow Traffic Team circa 1993
Courtesy of Don Bastida

In the late 1980's, KCBS Radio traffic reports were delivered from this small studio adjacent to the main Studio A.

KCBS Radio Embarcadero Center traffic studio
Dave Wigfield
Today, KCBS Radio traffic reports are assembled from vastly more data than was available in 1968, including a network of live cameras. They're still delivered live every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

KCBS Radio Traffic Center 2018