The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


On the right road

Reporter keeps Houston moving

You could say Marty Ambrose, the new afternoon traffic guy at Houston Public Radio, fell into his career quite by accident. But Ambrose would disagree. “I look at it as destiny. It’s a career for which I was prepared throughout my education, especially at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa),” said the 1964 graduate whose degree is in speech and English.

KUHF-FM veteran traffic reporter Marty
KUHF-FM veteran traffic reporter Marty Ambrose keeps Houston drivers alert to afternoon rush-hour developments.

Ambrose’s first job was as a salesman for AAA (American Automobile Association) in Houston. In 1974, he began filling in for a colleague in public relations who did traffic reports. In 1976, they both moved to a local radio station.

Soon a fatal accident occurred: An ammonia truck fell off a ramp at a major freeway interchange, killing several people when they drove into the resulting ammonia cloud. All the Houston radio stations reported on the event, attempting to keep people off the freeways. Since only a few stations offered regular traffic reporting, Ambrose and his colleague decided to compile daily reports. The operation led to his own company, Traffic Central. He used volunteer spotters—using CB radios in their cars and even standing on the roof of a skyscraper. 

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