Things are getting hectic. I’m in a WLS AM 890 radio studio on the sixth floor of Chicago’s NBC Tower to visit Marianne Murciano and her husband, Bob Sirott―co-hosts of the “Sirott and Murciano” mid-morning show. The thing is, Marianne and Bob don’t have a full-time producer. As a result, the room fills with overlapping voices during breaks. While on-air commercials play, interim producers arrive with updates on guest availability; guys in the booth buzz in to check details for today’s call-in contest; Bob tells Marianne that the bio they have for a guest is outdated; the co-hosts huddle up to decide topics for the next segment; and then the duo turn to their computer screens for last-second research.
Despite all the commotion, Marianne somehow maintains an ongoing conversation with me. During one break, she describes her Cuban-revolutionary grandfather, but stops when we come back on-air. As soon as the next commercial hits, she resumes her train of thought without a moment of hesitation. Calling this “multitasking” doesn’t even come close.
Marianne and Bob have been mainstays of Chicago media for more than 25 years. Along the way, Marianne has written for the Chicago Tribune, received an MFA degree in writing, raised three kids with Bob, launched a Latin food site called Suso’s Fork, and embarked on a new adventure with her husband: building their own mini media empire via YouTube.
Between segments, with action swirling all around us, Marianne tells me how she and Bob made it all possible. Considering that Marianne is an Inside8 Individualist, it’s no surprise that she stresses the importance of perseverance and strong interpersonal connections.
You and Bob have been working together since 1993 and you got married in 1999. That’s an incredible amount of time together―not only in terms of marriage, but all the days spent together 9-to-5, day in, day out. How have you managed it?
It’s not easy, but our first relationship was on the air. Working together, the goal was, “How do we make the best show possible?” We were so involved in making that happen that the personal life came after that. If we had been dating and this opportunity (to work together) came up, I don’t know if we would have been able to do that.
And you’ve worked as a team ever since 1993?
Bob has had different jobs and I’ve had different jobs, but we’ve always maintained something together. He was the host of Chicago Tonight. He worked for NBC. He worked for Fox as their nine-o’clock anchor, and I was working on a book and writing some pieces for the Tribune. I was doing all these other things as well, but we always came together at least once a week on a regular basis to do a radio show. We always had that, but it isn’t easy to balance it all. Bob can tell you: I have to get away. I go on a lot of girls’ trips, and that is like a major savior to me. Also, I’m super social so I have a lot of friends. We have girls’ nights out.
I imagine that learning to communicate with each other has been essential, right?
Not just with each other. When Bob and I got married, he married three people. (Editor’s note: Marianne had two children when she married Bob. They also have one daughter together.) Bob was committing to three people, not just one person. He had to work on communicating not just with me, an adult who knew every aspect of him, but with two little kids, and he didn’t have kids before. I think that’s a part of the reason why it’s never been static for us.
Earlier we were talking about your YouTube channel and how you spend hours editing video for that. With the career, kids, and time with Bob, how do you fit everything in?
You do it in the same way as if you get a new job. You adjust. You figure it out. While I was editing last night, my daughter is trying to get into these colleges and I’m helping her write a letter to these coaches, because she plays sports. That’s like a 10-minute break from what I’m editing. You fit it all in because life happens. In my opinion, you can’t plan anything. It’s about how you handle things. You have to roll with it, whether it’s here (in the studio), or life.
In addition to the ladies’ trips and nights out, are there other ways you recharge?
This sounds like such a cliche, but it’s important to be authentic in your life and do things for the right reasons, whether it’s a conversation with your spouse or your friend―being genuine and being who you really are. I am completely burned out from editing for the last two weeks. So today I decided, “I don’t care. I can’t make a new video today.” So that was a decision I made, based on the present moment. It could be that was a bad decision not to do a video. Or it could be that the videos I posted yesterday will get more views. It’s just about adapting. I think that the most important skill young people can develop is not how to avoid problems, but figuring out how you can land on your feet. How do you adapt? My daughter wants to be in control of the situation, so she knows what is happening. I keep telling her, “The universe keeps testing you and putting you out of control, until you learn that it’s OK to be out of control. The skill you need to develop is, ‘How do I adjust and make the best out of the situation?’” Life is more rich because you didn’t plan everything. It’s about putting yourself in the mindset when you recognize opportunity.
You can keep up with Marianne and Bob on Marianne’s Instagram.