It has been estimated that a resident of LA County will spend an estimated 4 days each year stuck in traffic. There’s an extensive network of freeways that’s been built to handle over twelve million cars on a daily basis. But traffic here is still so notoriously congested that even if you’re from out of town, you’re not likely to be surprised by the excruciatingly slow crawl that is the 405 freeway during rush hour.
Sitting in gridlocked traffic is boring, frustrating, even lonely. Listening to traffic on the radio isn’t likely to make you feel much better, but if there’s just one traffic reporter who would snap you out of your bitter mood, it would be Kajon Cermak on KCRW. There is something different about the way Kajon does her traffic reporting — her voice seems to express just the right amount of empathy for your plight, even if she never says the words.
When Kajon Cermak came to Southern California on one of the very same freeways traversed by daily commuters, she had little more than what was packed in her car. Driving through the palm tree lined landscape, she was far from the midwestern city where she had spent most of her life. On her journey bridging the old and new chapters in her life were friendly voices, tunes and information — all courtesy of local radio stations along the route to Los Angeles.
It was later that Kajon, a one-time aspiring actress, would find herself working for a Southern California radio station. She had gotten her start working at a smaller station in Thousand Oaks, when a surprise call from the local NPR affiliated station, KCRW, gave her a new break. Today Kajon runs the board and does the traffic for All Things Considered on KCRW.
It doesn’t matter whether if you are new in town or a long-time Angeleno, the rush hour commute is really never enjoyable. But have you ever been surprised to find yourself sitting an extra minute in the driveway or the garage while your local radio correspondent finishes up a report or story? Now, if only they could find a way to report on tomorrow’s traffic, the night before…