CBS News, KCBS Radio Legend Don Mozley Dies

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Longtime KCBS Radio and CBS News reporter Don Mozley has died at the age of 90. He passed away Thursday at London’s Heathrow Airport on the way home from a solo trip to Europe.

An autopsy in London attributed his death to a heart attack.

Mozley was being remembered as a truly remarkable man who enjoyed an incredible broadcasting career spanning more than six decades.

KCBS’ Stan Bunger Reports:

Mozley was a recent graduate of the University of Missouri when CBS News hired him in 1942 and sent him to San Francisco to help cover World War II. At 21 years old, he was the network’s youngest correspondent and was the first reporter to break the news of Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945.

Mozley also covered the atomic bomb tests at Bikini in the Marshall Islands, and traveled on the presidential campaigns of Sen. Robert A. Taft, Richard M. Nixon and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

When CBS News acquired a station known as KQW, the station’s call letters were subsequently changed to KCBS and, ultimately, Mozley became a part of the station’s broadcasts.

Mozley was KCBS News Director for 15 years, where he also served as a news anchor and reporter, in addition to covering the automotive industry in his long-running “California Driver” features. Mozley loved cars and travel. For many years, his “Auto Test” features aired on KCBS, and he continued to review new cars on the web site until the end.

It’s anybody’s guess exactly how many newscasts he wrote and anchored on KCBS, always in that steady voice that made you trust everything he said.

Don Mozley delivers remarks to the San Mateo-based Broadcast Legends group during a luncheon in 2011. (Broadcast Legends)

Don Mozley delivers remarks to the San Mateo-based Broadcast Legends group during a luncheon in 2010. (Robert Mohr/Broadcast Legends)

Mozley was the consummate professional, checking every fact and parsing every word. He knew how to be funny, even under the stress of something like the 1981 San Francisco Financial District gas leak evacuation, recounting his descent from KCBS’ then-studios on the 32nd floor.

“As we progressed, the Embarcadero Center loudspeakers offered conflicting advice,” Mozley reported. “First they shouted ‘use the stairway.’ Well, we were already on the stairway. But as the steps became more and more jammed with newcomers at every floor, the loudspeaker yelled ‘use the elevators.’ Fat chance, all the doors in the corridor were locked.”

Of course, there was more to Mozley’s story. He was within an arm’s reach of 75-year-old U.S. Sen. S.I. Hayakawa during the incident.

“I’m sitting right here and thinking of how I almost asked an elderly U.S. senator to carry me the rest of the way,” Mozley said in his report. “This is Don Mozley, looking across the street at my office.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Harry Martin

    A great journalist and class act.

  • Val

    My condolences to the staff of KCBS. I grew up and grew older listening to KCBS. I started as a kid listening to Craig Harrison (does anyone at the station remember him?) when KDBS was a talk radio station. When I worked the midnight shift working my way through college, I listened to Midnight-to-Dawn hosted by Don playing mostly classical music. Being a DIY car buff, I always enjoyed listening to Don’s car related reports. Don was truly a jack-of-all trades. He will be missed.

  • Carol Maggio

    I was Mr, Mozley’s Letter Carrier for the last 3 years. I enjoyed our talks and he frequently met me at the mailbox. I asked him how he knew when I was going to get there as it might be a different time every day. Being the car buff that he was, he told me, “That Postal vehicle has a distinctive sound and I hear it coming!” He loved to travel and do his new car reports. Every week a new car would be delivered to his house for him to test and report on. He often had to show me some great features on them. One of the most interesting things he did as a young man was be a replacement announcer for the Art Linkletter TV show for a short time. He attributed the start of his retirement fund planning to advise from Art Linkletter, but I don’t think he ever really retired. Peace.

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