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Legendary Philadelphia Traffic Reporter John Carlton Dies At Age 85

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(John Carlton; credit: Broadcast Pioneers)

(John Carlton; credit: Broadcast Pioneers)

By Tim Jimenez. Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Legendary Philadelphia traffic reporter John Carlton died on Thursday at the age of 85.

John Carlton had done a little bit of everything. He worked in radio, TV and print as a performer, reporter, writer and even as an executive. Carlton may be best known in our area during his time doing traffic on the Atlantic, later ARCO Go Patrol.

Traffic reports from high in the sky in a helicopter. Which he and his pilot used in 1968 to save residents of a retirement home in Philadelphia where a nine-alarm fire was taking place. That earned him the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Heroism

Former KYW-TV anchor Bruce Hamilton, while still a student at Temple University, got his first big break working as an intern with Carlton at the Go-Patrol.

“I was just so nervous because I grew up listening to John because the ARCO Go-Patrol was on something like a dozen different radio stations around town,” Hamilton said. “Here’s a guy who is living this dream, flying in a helicopter and I never thought in a million years I’d get the job.”

But he did, and Hamilton says Carlton immediately became a mentor for him.

“All in all, he’s a guy who had a very dramatic influence on my life,” he said. “I was very sad to hear about his passing.”

Hamilton says he still remembers some of the lessons and tips Carlton gave him all many years ago.

“About relating to people, about communicating with people,” he said, “and about making sure that information had context, perspective and focus and was relevant.”

Hamilton says Carlton was an animated character who everybody loved.

Funeral services are scheduled next Saturday in Schwenksville, Pa.

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