Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Mark Simone | radio | host | Q&A

Five Minutes With . . . Mark Simone

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Mark Simone (Twitter/@MarkSimoneNY)

Monday, 16 Jan 2017 04:18 PM

Mark Simone has been described as "the best known face on radio." A fixture on the AM and FM dial for 30 years, he hosts a top-rated morning show in New York, appears frequently on cable news shows, and is known around New York as the must-have master-of-ceremonies for the city's biggest events.

Newsmax: Mark, you've been friends with Donald Trump for decades and were a vocal supporter of his candidacy from the very first day he announced is 2015. What do you like most about him?

Mark Simone: "The problem with politicians is they're all talk and no execution. Trump is just as much execution as he is talk – and the way he talks, he sets that bar sky high. But, he always gets things done. What Democrats couldn’t seem to grasp is that he's a man of tremendous achievement, building 100 story skyscrapers all over the world. Remember the last time he took on a new career with no experience? It was TV, and he quickly ran the table and had the No. 1 network show for 14 seasons."

Newsmax: What do you think the public will learn about President Trump it doesn't already know?

MS: "That he was never any of the things they called him. He's the only man in history who's been called a xenophobe while married to a foreigner. He worked closely with Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Don King, Al Sharpton, Herschel Walker and was never called a racist 'til he ran against a Democrat."

Newsmax: You've been doing talk radio for 25 years; how has it changed over the years

MS: "Everything is different. We're now in a Twitter world, which means more points and less words. Everything is sped up. It used to be common to have a guest for an hour, now an interview is 6-8 minutes. In the digital age, people have an attention span shorter than goldfish.

Newsmax: Who was the most difficult person you ever interviewed?

MS: "A mob hitman who wrote a book about killing dozens of people. He was trembling with stage fright before we went on the air. I'd said 'you have the nerve to kill people, but not for this.' He said, 'No, this is scary, I don't know how you do it!'"

Newsmax: So much in the radio, TV and newspaper world has changed. Where do you see the media changes taking us in the future?

MS: "People have access to everything on earth now, so finding unique content and news is trickier than ever. They can customize their internet content to exactly what they want to hear, so to be able to do that for a mass audience is tricky."

Newsmax: What has been your most challenging moment on the air?

MS:  "9-11. I've covered a lot of disasters on the air, but you know how hurricanes and floods are going to end. After the 9-11 attacks, no one knew what was coming next. I ended up on the air that night for about 12 hours 'til 6 a.m. To this day, people still come up to me and tell me they were very young then and too terrified to sleep and listened to me all night lying in bed in the dark, and it got them through that night."

Newsmax: What annoys you most about living in New York City?

MS: "That there are only 24 hours in a day and so much to do here. What did John Updike say about people who live somewhere else besides New York City – that they must be, in some sense, kidding."

Newsmax: Mayor Bill de Blasio is running again this year. Who would you like to see challenge him and become the next mayor?

MS: "Hillary Clinton – the most bumbling candidate, a non-stop scandal machine always gives us plenty of great material. But, she always loses and we need a change. So, John Catsimatidis, who came close last time. Trump shattered the glass ceiling for private sector business people to serve. Enough with mediocre career bureaucrats."

Newsmax: You are known as being one of the top experts on Frank Sinatra. You knew him well. What did you learn from him?

MS: "He always practiced when alone, singing to himself, doing voice exercises, in the car, in the hallway. I asked him why he did that. He said 'that way, when I'm not great, I'm still good.' It was always a thrill to be invited to dinner, 'til you got there and found out that dinner was usually 40 people. When he invited you out at night, you had to bring sunglasses, because the sun would be out on the way home. He always said 'you only live once, but the way I live, once is enough.'"

Newsmax: What's your favorite Sinatra song?

MS: "It's always changing. I've asked every great singer in the world that question for 25 years, and never gotten the same answer twice. But, when it comes to albums, the answer is always the same – 'In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning' the first concept album ever by a singer, it revolutionized the recording industry and is his masterpiece."

Newsmax: Do fans recognize you on the street, and do top radio personalities like yourself have groupies?

MS: "I'm on TV most nights on one show or another and fans now know what everyone on the radio looks like. They are always on their websites, Instagram and Facebook pages. People come up to me often. The worst thing is when a fan writes and says 'I saw you on the street and was going to ask for your autograph, but you were talking to this beautiful woman, so I didn't want to bother you.' I have to write back and explain, that's when I need you to come over and make a big fuss!'"

Newsmax: You also write comedy and perform. Who is your all-time favorite comic and why? Have you ever had to fend off a heckler?

MS: "Don Rickles, Chris Rock,  Jackie Mason – all geniuses and Donald Trump, who has told me he carefully studied them all. His infamous 'McCain's not a war hero because he was captured' was actually borrowed from a 2008 Chris Rock routine."

Newsmax: Who is the sexiest person on earth in your opinion?

MS: "Anthony Weiner. Just ask him. He'll tell you."

Newsmax: A left-field question: Have you ever been to a nude beach?

MS: I've been to everything. I have been to nude beaches, and it's never filled with who you want to see. It's always the worst bodies ever. Even whales are laughing when they swim by.

Newsmax: If you could have dinner with any historical figure – alive or dead – who would it be?

MS: "I'd rather have dinner with them alive. Dead, they're never much fun and also, they can't pick up the check. Okay, you want a real answer? Churchill, JFK."

Newsmax: What do you eat for breakfast and are you a coffee addict?

MS: "I've never had breakfast, never been up that early. Lunch is a big meal, a major event in Manhattan. I always eat out. The last time I had dinner at home, I was 17 years old."

Newsmax: Will we one day see a Mark Simone autobiography, and what would surprise people to learn about you?

MS: "A lot of publishers have talked to me about a book, and one day I'll find the discipline to get it done. I barely had the patience to finish writing these answers."

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Mark Simone has been described as "the best known face on radio." A fixture on the AM and FM dial for 30 years, he hosts a top-rated morning show in New York, appears frequently on cable news shows, and is known around New York as the must-have master-of-ceremonies for the city's biggest events.
Mark Simone, radio, host, Q&A
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2017-18-16
Monday, 16 Jan 2017 04:18 PM
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