Who: Maria Milito
What’s your day job? I keep people company on air. I’m a radio DJ for the New York classic rock station, Q104.3. My shift is during the workday, 9am until 2pm.
How long have you been a DJ? I’ve been at Q104.3 for 17 years. I’ve been DJing a long time.
You don’t like to share your age? It’s funny, I have like 20-year-old listeners who think I’m hipper than their parents and their parents are actually younger than me. And then I have people who listen to me and think they listened to me when they came back from Vietnam. But I can’t tell them that I’m not that old. So that’s why I’m always pretty generic about it.
Where did you grow up? Hicksville, Long Island. My family is from Brooklyn and they did the big Italian exodus in the ’50s to Staten Island, New Jersey and Long Island.
How did you get into radio? I got a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from New York Tech in Old Westbury. When I went on the air at the college radio station there was something that just clicked. I fell in love with it.
What’s your typical day like? I wake up at 6:20, meet my neighbor and his dog at 6:40am and we take our dogs for a really long walk until about 7:40am. Then I get ready and go to work. During my shift, I email back and forth with people, and I’m on Facebook. Sometimes I record for other markets while I’m on the air. I do mid-days in Miami for Big 105.9 which I record the day before. And then Clear Channel… I think I’m on about 30 markets across the country where I do 10am-3pm, Monday through Saturday.
Wow, your voice really gets a workout! I’ve also been NY1’s voiceover person for 18 years and I guest host a show called The Call. I get to put on my news hat and get a good vibe on what’s going on in the boroughs. Then today, when I got off the air I was with a friend of mine who asked me to do a quick video. Everything is random.
Do you like the randomness? Yes, you realize who your real friends are. Because I don’t work 9-5, and it can make you unreliable. I’ve bailed on things last minute. Like right now, as I’m talking to you, if something happens with a host and no one else is able to fill in, I’ll do it. The only thing I’m pretty consistent about are my workouts. I go to Aerospace, which is a boxing gym. And that has become my social life. (laughs)
Easiest part of you day? I don’t have to get dressed up for work. I don’t have to wear pantyhose and a dress (laughs). But I truly love my job, so it doesn’t feel like I’m working. I can just talk forever. I don’t know if that’s good (laughs).
So what’s your typical work uniform? I love jeans. Jeans and boots in the winter; Jeans and sandals now. And a nice shirt. I’m not sloppy, but not dressy. If I had to go to a dinner, I’d come home and change. I’m always wearing sleeveless tops now. I’ve got Aerospace arms, I might as well show them off!
Hardest part of your day? To always be in a decent mood when you’re on the air. If I’m cranky about something on the air I’ll talk about it, but I can’t be Debbie Downer on the air for five hours. You need to be able to swallow your emotion and that can be tough. When I was on the air during 9/11, that was probably the most difficult on-air experience of my whole life. It was like keep your shit together, but I would walk home and cry, the faxes that were coming in, the emails and the phone calls … it was awful.
You were playing a crucial role. We have so many fireman and policemen listening to us, and they were all down there and people were looking for them. Oh it was just… [she takes a long pause] I couldn’t cry on the air. We had TVs in the studio, and we watched the towers go down. I actually remember when those went up. We would drive to my grandparents in Brooklyn and I would watch those towers being built.
Best piece of advice? Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do something. I remember when I went through college orientation, the communications director told me I should go into computers, “unless you know someone who is in entertainment in your family.” I thought, really? It always bothered me, but it also inspired me. Follow your dreams. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. It might take a while or a lot of effort and sacrifice. I sacrificed on relationships, but it’s ok. I have a great job. I don’t have a boyfriend. But I have a great job (laughs).
Your perfect TueNight? Take Aero 3 at Aerospace (that’s the craziest, most intense class there) and then come home and chill out with my dog and watch something I DVRed over the weekend. Anything on HBO. Or Ray Donovan.
Is that show good? Oh my God yes. First of all I have the biggest crush on Liev Schreiber. He is like gloomy, bad-ass hot in this. And Jon Voight should really get an Emmy award. He is sick. But he plays his part perfectly.
Any good Howard Stern stories? You must know him? Oh yeah, I used to do “Best of Stern” when he would be on vacation. I’ve used this line since Howard said it 20-some years ago. When anyone says “Oh my god you’re in radio! You’re a celebrity! I’m like no, as Howard has said, ‘on the entertainment ladder, radio people are one rung above circus clowns.’ I love that, it’s so perfect.
Morning beverage: Coffee!
Favorite website? Lately, dog training websites I find through “All Things Dog Behavior” on Facebook and Fearfuldogs.com.
Biggest pet peeve? JUST ONE?? People who stand by the doors on the subway and/or those who don’t let you out before boarding; people who walk while looking at their phones oblivious to the world; loud cellphone talkers; sorry they all equally annoy me!
Afternoon snack: Zone bar
Last, best book you read? Feisty Fido
Last, best TV show you watched? The Newsroom on HBO
Band you saw? Buddy Guy at The Iridium