The radio traffic reporter prepares for a new career challenge and business venture.

Last June, when local radio traffic reporter “Detour Dave” Sandler learned that his contract with WBAL News Radio 1090 and 98 Rock (WIYY) would not be renewed, the Owings Mills resident was despondent.

But it didn’t take long for Sandler — who finished out his 31-year tenure with the radio station on July 17 — to find a new gig. In fact, during his final week at the station, Sandler could be heard assuring a visitor that he’d be back on the air very soon. When asked for the details, Sandler flashed a mischievous grin and said everyone would find out soon.

Now, most of the details are known. Sandler and Chuck Whitaker, a 48-year radio veteran familiar to many Baltimore listeners, will start Traffic Team, a new traffic reporting service this fall. The duo has signed up with the Maryland News Network and WCBM, and as of early this month, approximately 20 stations are under contract to work with them.

Sandler said they’ll be doing the morning drive times from 6-9 a.m., plus the afternoon drive times, from 3-6 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. Traffic Team will produce a minimum of two reports per hour per station.

“We feel there is a need for experienced, locally-based talent in this market,” Sandler said.

The stations Traffic Team has under contract stretch from Cumberland to Ocean City, Md., and most places in between, including several in the Baltimore metropolitan area such as WCBM.

Sandler said he’s happy to have a chance to keep doing a job that has been his passion for more than three decades — and now be in charge of his own business venture.

“We’re really excited about not only what it can do for us but for the listeners,” Sandler said. “I think it’s going to be a big boost to the traffic industry in this area, having veteran reporters who know the area and who really care about what they’re doing.”

He added that he’ll be on the air on all of the stations for each of the reports except for WCBM, when Whitaker, who’s worked with the Pikesville-based station for many years, will handle the morning. The afternoon reports will be done by Sandler.

Whitaker, who started Metro Traffic in 1979 with a partner, will handle most of the business side. Presently based in Tampa, he said he was thrilled to have a chance to hook up with Sandler on a project like this.

“He’s been on the air up there for 30-some years,” Whitaker. “He’s my equal. We’ve been on [combined] almost 80 years. That’s a big plus. Credibility [with Sandler] is instantaneous.”

The pair are working out the final details of the arrangement. Sandler is going to broadcast out of a studio being built in his house, and they are looking for sponsors.

““It was a great kick in the pants for me to lose what I had, [but] it put me into a better position,” he said. “ I think this was the motivation I needed. I’m excited.”

Read more about ‘Detour Dave’:

‘Detour Dave’ Sandler’s Contract Not Renewed by Baltimore Radio Stations

After a near-death experience, Detour Dave Sandler discovers what’s important in life

Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.

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