Maria Bartiromo joined Fox Business Network in 2014. She hosts Mornings with Maria from 6 to 9 a.m., and weekly programs Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street and Sunday Morning Futures, the latter on Fox News Channel.
In early August, Bartiromo marked 25 years since she first went on the air, for CNBC, at the New York Stock Exchange. She spoke with B+C about that “scary” day, how she’s broadcasting amidst the pandemic and about the song Joey Ramone wrote for her. An edited transcript follows.
B+C: What was going through your head before appearing on air that first time?
Maria Bartiromo: It certainly was scary. I was going on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, which was a sea of suits, all men. We were launching Squawk Box and we wanted it to be different.
I was a production assistant at CNN, then I worked above the floor for CNBC, but this was totally new because it was on the floor of the stock exchange. I didn’t know what to expect. There were a fair amount of people who didn’t want me there. I’m so grateful for it because I feel like it changed so much.
B+C: What made you want to be on TV?
MB: My boss at CNN was Lou Dobbs. I was a writer and producer. I would go out in the field, interview everybody, come up with story ideas and write something for someone else to go on camera with. When I was promoted to senior producer, in the control room, I was no longer going to go on shoots. I realized that was not what I wanted — I like to go on shoots, I like reporting. I wanted to be on air, but knew I had hit a ceiling at CNN. I put a tape together and sent it to CNBC. They liked it and put me on air.
B+C: What do viewers get from your shows that they don’t get from other shows?
MB: With Mornings with Maria, you’re getting business, politics, policy — big emphasis on policy — as well as some watercooler stuff. What I’m best at is the policy stuff. I came to Fox with a business background; for me, everything is viewed through the economic lens. I bring business together with policy and politics and communicate to our audience how policy changes impact them.
B+C: When did you first hear that Joey Ramone was doing a song called ‘Maria Bartiromo?’
MB: When he first emailed me, I didn’t know it was that Joey Ramone. He’d say to me, ‘What do you think about Intel, what do you think about all these tech stocks?’ I just thought it was a viewer. We’d email and talk on the phone. Finally, he said, ‘I wrote a song about you.’ Immediately it hit me — Oh my god, you’re that Joey Ramone!
I was going to have him on live. He said ‘Maria, it’s on the calendar, but come to CBGBs tomorrow night, I’m gonna play your song. I’m on at 12 or 12:30.’ I said, ‘I can’t be at CBGBs at midnight, I gotta get up at 3:30 and be on the air at 6 in the morning.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, send a cameraman.’
I sent a camera crew, which shot him singing my song. I was absolutely floored. I called him and said, ‘Joey, this is unbelievable! The song is phenomenal. I love it, thank you so much!’
Joey never told me how sick he was. He got sicker and sicker and then he died. I should’ve pulled an all-nighter and gone to CBGBs to watch him, then just gone to work. That will always be a regret.
B+C: How much has COVID-19 affected your day-to-day?
MB: It’s affected everything. I’m doing the show from home. I’m more productive today than I ever have been. Some things are obviously very tough, but other things are actually easier. When I call guests, they are home. Guests have been off-the-charts phenomenal on Mornings with Maria. Ratings are up and the show has been soaring.
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