Well-known to the radio industry and Philly PR Girl, Marilyn Russell sat down with us for our First Friday Interview Series. Marilyn was a long-time radio host for “Mornings with Marilyn” on WBEN-FM 95.7 and most recently landed a new gig joining CBS Radio. Since she takes the time to feature so many extraordinary women on her show, we thought it was about time we feature her!
Learn more about the enthusiastic voice you hear every morning including her background, favorite interviews, future plans, and more.
PPRG: Congratulations on your newest venture as co-host on 98.1 WOGL Breakfast Club. What can listeners expect when tuning into the show?
MR: Thank you! Listeners can expect a light, fun and upbeat mix of music, with humor and features. My two co-hosts, Billy Z and Frank Lewis, are hilarious! I recommend not to miss the “Polka Challenge” on Thursday mornings where Billy rocks an OGL song on the accordion and listeners guess the song. Without fail, guests can always identify the song being featured within a matter of a minute or two!
PPRG: When did you know radio was the industry for you?
MR: I did radio in college, but I never thought I would have a career doing what I’m doing now. In 1993, while Philadelphia launched it’s very own Alt Station, I was juggling a freelance voice-over career with motherhood and didn’t want to work full-time. WDRE needed someone in the afternoon to answer phones, so I took the gig. The rest, as they say, is history. I knew immediately I’d figured out where I was supposed to be and eventually went all-in with radio. I started working in the local and new music scene with a couple of Sunday night shows and a weekly “local-band” showcase night. Since 1997, I’ve been a Music Director, Promotions Director and a full-time on-air talent.
PPRG: Wow! With over 20 years in radio, you’ve probably held over thousands of interviews with guests. What is one interview you’ll never forget?
MR: That’s a tough one! Interviewing David Bowie was simply remarkable! Not only was he incredibly friendly and sweet, but he also graciously addressed me by name. Sitting in a room with actor, Liam Neeson, was extraordinarily special — and a little nerve racking! He just holds himself like the star that he is, plus his brogue is so sexy!
PPRG: We can only imagine! What is your proudest career accomplishment to date?
MR: In 2007, I started a specialty show which showcases extraordinary women, both locally and nationally. It’s an honor to share the remarkable work that is being done in businesses, non-profits, the cultural arts, and more. While I adore men, I’ve found that women tend to go the extra mile — especially when it comes to helping in the community and taking care of familial needs.
PPRG: #GirlPower! That leads us to our next question on how you celebrate these incredible women. From “Woman of the Week” to the “Remarkable Women” series now, (which our owner, Kate, was recently featured on), tell us more about what is to come of this segment.
MR: Listeners can not only catch the show on WOGL, but also 96.5 Today’s Hits and WXTU. Vignettes of the show also air on KYW Newsradio. It’s incredible to have this great new platform to showcase and share extraordinary women and their stories. Stay tuned, as I hope to put an annual luncheon together around the new show!
PPRG: We will definitely keep an eye out! As a native Philadelphian, what do you love best about Philly?
MR: EVERYTHING! Philly has become such a foodie town with incredible dining choices — and I’m right smack dab in the middle of it all. My favorite part to walk through is Old City because it all began here: the history, culture, beer movement. I’ve never been more proud of my hometown!
PPRG: We couldn’t agree more! So tell us, what does the future hold for Marilyn Russell?
MR: This June, I’ll be traveling to a place that has been on my bucket list for years: Denali, Alaska! Thanks to my dear friends at Cabot Creamery, I’ll be accompanying the winners of Cabot’s amazing volunteer reward program. I’m not only excited to see the beautiful sights, but also do it with people who understand the importance of volunteer work throughout the country. Other than that, I’m just taking everything day-by-day.