Traffic Reports Take a Detour
Among the many, many changes brought on by the pandemic has been people’s commutes to-and-from work. At HMA Public Relations, commuting is a thing of the past as our staff is now working remotely.
We are one example of how traffic in the Valley has changed and now, how it is reported. Each of the local morning TV shows and almost all of the local radio stations have some form of a traffic report. The information is drastically different than it was 12 months ago.
“Morning rush hours in general were cut in half across the West Valley, and the East Valley commutes have been practically wiped out until just recently,” said “Detour Dan” Beach, who’s been reporting on traffic by air and land for 92.3 FM KTAR for some 30 years.
And not only has the information changed, but how it is gathered and delivered is different now.
“All of this on top of now working remotely from home, and all of the challenges that go with that,” he continued. “On the other hand, as we now live in this wonderful world of technology, cameras, e-mail, social media — the station and I have adapted wonderfully.”
“The fact is, after reporting from the airplane for the first almost 25 years, and now the last five years from the ground, and in the afternoons from home, turns out to have been great practice for the conditions of being forced to work from home mornings and afternoons,” Beach added.
Vanessa Ramirez, traffic and entertainment anchor for 12 News, had these observations:
“Shortly after the pandemic started, people switched to working from home which drastically lightened up the traffic on Valley roads and freeways,” she explained. “Traffic reports came to a screeching halt and were absent from the shows from March until the beginning of October.”
“After people started trickling back to work at the office later in the year, it was necessary to bring traffic reports back,” Ramirez continued. “Though traffic hasn’t returned to its pre-pandemic capacity, there is definitely more commotion and a lot more construction taking place in Phoenix.”
But it’s not all just traffic jams and broken-down buses.
Gina Miravilla, traffic reporter for Arizona’s Family (3TV and CBS5), recently posted on Facebook: “This week alone we’ve seen three deadly crashes during my shift. And while it’s my job to report the facts and get you around the scene, it’s not lost on me that three people, and their families, were not planning for their lives to suddenly and tragically end. That makes my heart ache 💔 for these victims and their loved ones that I don’t even know.”
We sometimes forget that reporters are human, too.