Job Q&A: Traffic Reporter Margo McKenna
Written by Margo McKenna, edited by Laura Schaefer
What is your job? My job is a Traffic Reporter (on the radio). I choose it because I used to get a lot of comments on my voice and Atlanta was such a big media town. I used to go up in the helicopter but am now in the studio. When I was up in the helicopter, it was for two hours in the AM and two hours in the PM, but I still worked more hours on the ground. I flew until I was six months pregnant with my first child!
This is a full-time job. During my shift, I report traffic for multiple cities and I also produce traffic. That means I gather all the info that will be broadcast, via listening to police scanners, calling police, and checking their Twitter feeds. We get cell calls and check cameras and radar on the interstates.
Does your job bring you happiness, moments of joy, or a sense of fulfillment? It is nice to be able to warn people about what problems they need to avoid on the roadways. Some days it's fulfilling and some days it's just my job.
What are some of the biggest challenges of your job? The biggest challenge is keeping up to date. Traffic can change in an instant. You can anticipate some traffic flows but you can't predict crashes or stalls.
Do you have any regrets? I regret not taking a management position years ago. They weren't going to pay me more so I turned it down. I should have taken the job, gotten experience, then moved on to a different manager job with more pay, even if that meant in a different field.
What do you wish more people knew about your job? We can't talk about every incident – Atlanta is too big – and not everyone is in the helicopter. Most are in the studio.
What do you hope for? I hope to get more pay, simple as that.