Longtime NBC4 Today in L.A. morning traffic reporter Paul Johnson died Tuesday evening at home, leaving the world of Sigalerts with his wife and family around him. He was 75.
He put up a heroic fight against a glioblastoma (brain tumor) but on Tuesday, it was time to go, and as his wife Nancy said in a voicemail to his coworkers a few minutes after he left, "He's gone to see Jesus."
The world was a better place while he was in it, telling us to "buckle up, be careful out there," but what he was really telling us is that no matter what was ahead on the road, no matter what obstacles or accidents were in the way, that it was going to be OK.
The well-known and well-liked baritone-voiced Paul underwent brain surgery in January and remained off air while recovering.
Earlier this year, viewers flooded NBCLA with e-mails, phone calls and bags of letters asking where and why Johnson was off the air. Today in L.A. reported Johnson had a brain tumor. Once it was made public that Johnson was ill, the outpouring of support was truly amazing.
Johnson has been a part of NBC4's on-air team since August 1988. During his tenure, he served as both a weather and traffic report contributor.
Before joining Metro Traffic in August 1982, Johnson spent more than eight years with Capital Cities, leaving a position as program director for WJR-FM in Detroit. He has also reported traffic conditions for several Los Angeles radio stations, including KNX, KZLA, KACE, KXEZ and KSRF.
Johnson's extensive broadcast career included positions at several local radio stations, including KZLA/KPOL from 1975 to 1983, KFAC in 1974 where he was a news reporter, KUTE from 1972 to 1973 and KIIS-FM from 1969 to 1972, where he was an on-air personality. In addition, Johnson appeared in the motion picture "Paint Your Wagon," on stage in several opera productions, and in numerous television commercials.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law from Glendale University and studied music and drama at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
At the request of Nancy Johnson, donations can be sent in the name of Paul Johnson to Children's Hospital of Orange County. Please remember to include Paul's name in the memo section of the check.
Address: CHOC Foundation, 455 S. Main St., Orange, CA, 92868
Link: Paul's Facebook Page