Sondra Solarte, Traffic Reporter - FOX 32 News Chicago

Traffic Reporter

Sondra Solarte

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I was born on the North Side of Chicago, around Lawrence and Sacramento, but then my parents moved us out to the far northwest suburbs. My mom and dad immigrated to the United States from Colombia, South America when they were very young.

They worked hard to give my brother and I everything they never had as kids. Growing up, I learned both Spanish and English at home. My mom insisted we speak to her in Spanish and my dad spoke to my brother and I in English. I'm so grateful to my mom and my grandmother, who helped raise us, for making me keep up with my Spanish skills.

I've been able to use my bi-lingual skills to help people in the Latino community through working as a bi-lingual tutor in my local school district, I worked with the English as a Second Language program for our local college and I was a Spanish interpreter/translator for the police department too.

I began my on-air career in 1999 as a reporter for Shadow traffic. It's actually very ironic that my first job was reporting traffic because since the day I got my license I've rerouted my life and schedule around traffic. I guess I learned it from my father because he used to do the same thing. But, in his defense he spent over 20 years of his life sitting in traffic and driving around the Chicago streets as a Westinghouse repairman. He is, and I am not kidding, a "human GPS" system. I've always been able to call him if I got lost and ask him how to get home regardless of where I was or how turned around I was at the moment.

He's the one who taught me to pay attention to my surroundings. I remember one afternoon when I was 15 years old and my family drove into Chicago. He told me before we left our house to pay attention to where we were going, but that's all he said to me. Then, we finally left my aunt's house and he tossed me the keys and said "get us home and if you can't then you don't drive for two weeks". Do you know how long two weeks is for a fifteen year old with a driver's permit??? Well, the good news is that I remembered how to get home. Looking back now I suppose that's when my training really began.

My first on-air position was at Shadow traffic on WMAQ radio 670 am. You may have also heard me reporting traffic and/or news either regularly or filling-in on various Chicagoland radio stations such as WGN 720 am, WBBM 780 am, 101.9 fm 'The Mix', U-S 99.5 fm, Star 105.5 fm, WJOL 1340 am and 105.1 WOJO.

While I was earning my stripes in the broadcasting business I worked as a waitress at Ed DeBevic's restaurant in downtown Chicago. It was one of the hardest, but most fun jobs I've ever had in my past. Where else can you get paid to get up on the counters and dance AND most importantly get SASSY with customers. YES, believe it or not, the more attitude I dished out, the better my tips were that day.

In 2001 I became the regular weekend traffic reporter for NBC channel 5. Then about two years later I signed on with Traffic Pulse networks to work exclusively with 100.3 WNND. For the next couple of years I had an absolute Blast co-hosting afternoons with Brian Peck on 100.3 WNND 'The Hits of the 80's and 90's'.

Then, in August 2005, I became an official member of the FOX 32 family when I was hired as a Traffic & General Assignment reporter for Good Day Chicago.

I'm truly Blessed to be able to get up every morning with a SMILE on face because I love what I do.

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