LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — “It’s a huge responsibility,” says Denise Fondo, traffic reporter for KNX1070 NEWSRADIO. “What happens on the roads every day, and it just seems so deadly.”
Fondo has been covering LA traffic for decades. Crashes, closures and chaos come at her at a frantic pace. The updates come from online maps, traffic sites and ground cameras. She takes it in, then delivers it in a calm voice to drivers trying to navigate Southern California freeways.
Fondo takes breaks about every 15 minutes, looking out a window at the city below. Fondo calls those quick-calm breaks her “Zen moments.”
Working with Fondo above is a team of sky veterans. Jeff Baugh and Desmond Shaw fly out of the Van Nuys airport. Between them, they have about 40 years in the air — and on the air. “Every day, it’s something new,” said Shaw. “It’s still a very exciting job, or else I wouldn’t be doing it really.”
Twenty-year traffic veteran Mike O’Brien flies out of the Riverside airport. “By and large, you don’t have to wait too long in Southern California to get some really fun or exciting new things to cover,” said O’Brien.
They tell traffic tales that include a 50,000-gallon honey spill, a burning trash truck rolling backward down a freeway, and the high-speed chases that have become a spectator sport.
“For me it’s never entertainment,” says Fondo. “It’s just about keeping people safe on the road.”