Traffic reporter Stan Burford is retiring Sept. 28 after 51 years in the Bay Area broadcasting business, including 32 years at KGO-AM.
“I’ve achieved everything over the years that I’ve set out to do and my various roles have been extremely rewarding. Now, I’ll get to spend more time with my wife and family,” he said.
In the 1960s, he was the traffic reporter on radio powerhouse KSFO, a station headed up by icons such as Don Sherwood and Jim Lange. But Burford lost his job after a joke he made on the air rubbed Sherwood the wrong way, according to his bio in the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Northern California newsletter.
He went on to bigger and better things including jobs at KPIX, Metromedia’s KNEW Channel 32 and Kaiser’s KBHK Channel 44. He would eventually head the production department at KGO-TV, where he oversaw 22 producers, 19 directors and a dozen production assistants. He also was an executive with a production company that made shows for the Disney Channel and PBS.
In 1988, he returned to KGO TV and began reporting traffic from the Sky7 helicopter, and he was on the air, and in the air, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit on Oct. 17, 1989.
“I was in a plane over Berkeley at the time,” he told the NATAS Norcal newsletter. “I flew until 1 a.m. the next morning. I reportred what I saw below — the detours, the devastation — for days. Those were four days of my life I will never forget. …
“It was important for me at the time to get information out over the air. … The status of the Bay Bridge, the freeways … where you could go, where you couldn’t go,” Burford said.
Burford has won 14 Emmy awards and 10 RTNDA awards, and is a member of the Bay Area Broadcast Legends. (Photo credit: KGO-AM)