Music Monday featuring Marilyn Russell…


So many of the happiest memories I have are filled with music. It’s like the sound is woven through each memory, connecting them. My saddest memories have music attached to them too and without warning a song will come on the radio and I am instantly tearing up thinking of a lost loved one. I married a music man who also has songs attached to most memories, a basement full of 45’s and albums and he is now my personal DJ.

Because music is so important to me, such a part of my life I’ve wanted to join in on #MusicMonday posts for the longest time.

My Music Monday posts will include interviews and music from new and veteran artists from all genres of music as well as the people that bring that music to us. I will also share music that has meant the most to me throughout my life.

Here in Philadelphia we treat our local TV hosts, news anchors, feature writers and especially our radio personalities like royalty.

This week I want to introduce you to the woman that shares my morning drive and my morning writing sessions via the airwaves, WOGL 98.1 Breakfast Club Co-Host, the lovely Marilyn Russell.

Marilyn began her Philadelphia radio career in 1993 at 103.9 before joining Y100 to co-host with the popular Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison. She moved on to WMGK in 2003 and in 2007  joined 95.7 BEN-FM as a morning host.

In November 2016, when Greater Media Inc. entered a deal with Beasley Broadcast Group, after 13-years the Greater Media door closed for Marilyn.

Personally, I said many prayers that another door, a bigger and better door would open here in Philly for Marilyn and that prayer was answered!

Russell joined WOGL’s Breakfast Club from 5:30 to 9 a.m. as a co-host alongside fellow Philly radio royalty, Frank Lewis and Bill Zimpfer. My mornings are back on track and better than ever!

The Interview

Congratulation on landing at WOGL!

Thank you! The new job is great and so far so good…I forgot in 2 months, just how hard it is to wake up at 4:00 a.m., other than that…I’m feeling insanely lucky and the two guys on the team are simply fantastic.

What is the format for the new show? Will you be choosing the music?

The format is very similar to most “Hits” morning shows…we’ll share topics and take phones from listeners on topics, play games…do giveaways, etc. At every station, however, there’s a Program Director that chooses the music. WOGL is Philadelphia’s Greatest Hits with an emphasis on 80’s which is so fun! More rhythmic than rock and I’ve literally been singing along to every song we play!

What will become of your popular and so important, ‘Woman of the Week’ show and events?

 The Woman of the week show will be resurrected very soon…the goal is in-time for Women’s History Month which is March…we are working out details as we speak…stay tuned :-). Obviously it means the world to me to have such a great platform to continue the show.

Who are (3) people on your; I want to interview someday bucket list?

Spans the gamut between actors/actresses and musicians, but at first blush, I’d say – Peter Gabriel (life-long fan of his), Tom Hanks cause he seems like the nicest person in the world…an incredible actor and…last but not least – Tina Fey, who’s incredibly funny, smart and from Philly

Continuing with the bucket list theme who haven’t you seen and would you like to see perform live?

Well, I’ve been blessed to see some of the greats since my Dad played jazz and classical his whole life…I started attending live shows as early as 4…saw Frank Sinatra, Philadelphia Orchestra and many renowned jazz musicians. Of course when I came into my teenage years, rock music became everything so I was lucky enough to see Led Zeppelin when they played Philly in ’75…but there’s lots of bands I didn’t get to see that I’ve become a fan of later on in life…The Byrds I think would have been amazing…also, the Bee Gees. Best live performances for me are U2, Peter Gabriel, the Clash…and I surely hope to see U2 one more time…they head to Philly this summer so fingers crossed!

Do you play any musical instruments?

I did take piano lessons as a kid, but I’m not a piano player…unless you count chopsticks :-). I have been known to karaoke over the years depending on the amount of cocktails being served…I Love love love to sing!

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading, writing or music?

My home was not as conventional for sure…music/art/reading/writing all was encouraged…my Dad was an avid reader and turned me on to J.R.R. Tolkien at a young age…”The Hobbit” remains one of my all time favorite books, along with “The Alchemist,” and  “Catcher in the Rye.”

What was the last book you read? The last movie you saw?

Last book I read – “Porcelain,” by DJ and Musician Moby. Fascinating account of how he struggled in the early years as a DJ, but went on to have one of the best CD’s ever “Play.”

Last Movie was Disney’s “Moana.’  I’m an absolute sucker for animated movies and of course Disney and Pixar always get it right!

I read or heard somewhere that your happy hour is noon-ish, because of the hours you keep. What is your happy hour -go -to drink?

Yes, my happy hour does begin earlier in the day than most people because of my crazy hours…I love Patron (and margarita’s in general), but also a big fan of craft beers and ciders. Not much I don’t like actually 🙂

You probably get asked ALL THE time but what time do you get up and what time do you go to bed? Do you sleep in when you are not working?

I’m in bed by 8 p.m. and up at 4:00 a.m. and keep to that schedule as best I can. If there’s an event however, I will nap and push the schedule…but I find staying with the regiment during the week helps me be better on-air in the mornings. Weekends, I haven’t been able to sleep in part 6 a.m. since 1995…the struggle is real!

What is your favorite way to travel [plane, train or automobile] and what was the last trip you took?

I love trains and cruises more than flying now…used to love to fly though and still do of course (just takes soooooo much longer now with security, etc.). I just got back from California. I spent the holiday season in Cali, starting up North in wine country and working my way down the coast to Orange County. It was magical and cathartic. I now have about 1,000 pictures of sunsets on my phone (and a few dolphins too)!

Do you listen to music when you aren’t working? What’s on your personal playlist, this week?

On my personal playlist…I actually listen to a lot of podcasts including Fresh Air, This American Life and Women of the Hour. And guaranteed on any given Saturday night I’m singing along with Bob Pantano’s dance party on 98.1 WOGL…that’s not a new thing, and I’ve been a Harvey Holiday fan since 4-ever growing up in Philly.

Also, the many moods of Ben Vaughn, he pulls out some rare gems, music you don’t hear anywhere else.


Thank you so much Marilyn and Best wishes for continued success!

Follow Marilyn on WOGL Podcasts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

At the 2016 Devon Horse Show with David Nogar, Patricia Nogar, Marilyn Russell, host Michelle Leonard and me in my Zoya Egan original pink hat!




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