Susan Carlson is a Chicago native, who went to school locally -- graduating Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University in 1991 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and English, and graduating from Roosevelt University in 2009 with a Master's degree in Journalism -- as well as working her entire media career in her hometown.
Carlson started out her broadcasting career in radio, working at north suburban WXLC-FM and WKRS-AM, delivering newscasts and working as a sidekick to the FM morning show. From there, she joined Shadow Traffic's radio services, working as its news director. Through Shadow Broadcast Services, she was heard delivering news and traffic reports on a few Chicago radio stations, including WTMX-FM, WNND-FM (now WILV-FM), WJMK-FM, and WSCR-AM. She spent four years (1998-2002) as a news/traffic reporter for Roe Conn and Garry Meier's afternoon show on WLS-AM.
She began on television in 1995, working as a traffic reporter on WGN-TV's Saturday morning news for three years. After that, she did some fill-in/freelance traffic reporting work for WLS-TV and was able to be a street reporter for the station's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade coverage. In December 2002, Susan Carlson finally was able to land a full-time role in television, joining WBBM-TV as morning news traffic reporter. She also was given the opportunity to have a bigger role with the station as a general assignment reporter for the 5:00pm, 6:00pm, and 10:00pm newscasts.