Radio traffic reports fading away

Cellphones, GPS and the struggling economy are conspiring to begin the die-off phase for regular traffic reports on your car radio, says Daisy Nguyen at AP. (She could have cited too the low percentage of useful information in most reports.) Few traffic reporters take to the skies anymore either:

"A number of years ago it'd be unheard of to have an FM station in L.A. without traffic reports," said Don Bastida, vice president of operations for Airwatch, one of the nation's largest traffic-reporting services. "Now traffic reports on the music stations become just an interruption that gives the listener an opportunity to hit the button and move on to the next station."

He said traffic reports will remain on the AM dial, but they'll decline to the point that they'll only be offered as part of a news story when a major incident happens.

The region's top-rated pop station, KISS-FM, recently dropped afternoon traffic reports after AMP-FM, a new Top 40 station received higher ratings without traffic updates.

The story also details the decline of airborne traffic reporters, who are now on the ground glued to websites: "[They canj] detail the latest traffic jams to three or four radio stations in the same hour, sometimes using aliases. Rebecca Campbell might report at the top of the hour for the Fox sports station using her own name, then 20 minutes later appear as Toni Jordan on an alternative rock station. For a station popular with Latino listeners, she goes by the name Lena Macias."

And in Southland weather: A cold storm is coming in Friday night with the potential to drop less than an inch of rain in most areas, and lower the snow level to 4,000 feet.


More by Kevin Roderick:
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Recent Mobility stories on LA Observed:
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
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