Martha MacCallum – Exclusive Interview
By Nadja Atwal
Martha MacCallum is one of those people that generates an “insta-like” reaction. The successful host of the Fox News show ‘The Story’ continues to receive praise from the media and her audience both for her interview style that has always successfully thrived for an objective delivery and classy debate of the latest news. The gorgeous anchor with those famous light blonde tresses (no wonder she told ALLURE magazine she never even considered changing her hair color) began her career as a reporter for Corporate Finance Magazine and held a variety of positions including with NBC and CNBC before she signed with the No 1 cable News Station Fox News.
In 1997 and 2003, MacCallum was the recipient of the American Women in Radio and Television award for her reporting and in 2017, she landed on Variety’s New York Power List. On Thursday, June 28th, the busy power woman and her colleague, Fox News anchor Bret Baier will co-moderate a Republican gubernatorial primary debate in Orlando live from the Gaylord Palms Resort in front of a live audience. We took the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Martha.
Not only have you established yourself as a powerhouse on primetime, but you are one of the few political TV show hosts who has not stirred up controversy. Is it because you try not to weigh in too heavily with your personal opinion or what is your recipe ?
My recipe is news and doing great coverage every night. Honestly, I am not a person who believes what I do is about me. It’s not about me. It’s about the viewers, the audience, and the country. I’m an arbiter of the news that’s coming across my desk every day and there are times when I reveal a little bit about how I feel about something, but I have a pretty good barometer for where that line is and I really try not to cross it. I’m really thrilled that the show is doing so well, but the recipe is always evolving!
Whenever I spent time at the Fox News building in NY in my capacity as a political commentator, I had a fantastic experience – only meeting the nicest people. I perceived the place instantly as an environment where true friendships can be initiated and manifest. Then again as a host you must also feel that conflicting vibe of in-house competition. Tell us a bit about your experience and how you’ve navigated through it all over the years.
I think that we have very healthy competition here. We all want our show to be number one – we certainly want all of our shows to be in the top 10 in which we’re thankful to say that we have a tremendous record of success. The bar is very high for all of us and I think that we compete first against the other networks, and then second against each other in terms of wanting to have the best show. I think anybody whose successful in life has that attitude. That being said, we also are friends and we develop close friendships over the years. I’m just reminded of this weekend I went to Charles Krauthammer’s funeral and saw so many close friends from this environment and people who appreciated Charles and will miss him so much. Being there reminded me of what’s really important in life and that is friendships, people and the way you treat each other. I think that that’s something that’s really important to all of us.
This Thursday you will host a Republican gubernatorial primary debate in Orlando. Again you were paired with Bret Baier for this live event. What makes you two a great team?
We love working together. I think we complement each other really well. Bret obviously does a fantastic job and is based in Washington and has a great pulse for politics. I’ve covered politics my entire career as well and this is really a dream job for me. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. So when I sit in that chair and moderate debates I walk in there with my homework done because I absolutely love the whole process of writing, refining and debating the questions with our team. It is truly a dream come true for me and I love working with Bret. Bret is one of the best people that you will meet in this business and as long as we work together – that’s a great place for me to be.
After hosting debates like this where the audience has access to you, what are the most frequent questions you are getting from audience members once the show is over?
I can honestly say that they tell us to keep up the good work. They are incredibly encouraging. Sometimes you’ll hear someone who is a fan, isn’t a fan – I like to talk to people on all sides of the fence. I think it’s what makes life interesting and we just love their input and I love doing it in front of a crowd. The energy in the room is really palpable and it fuels the energy on stage. When we walk out and when we look at everybody and they’re so excited to be there it’s just so different for us because I’m used to working on a quiet set with a bunch of people. Being in front of a live audience just adds that extra energy and excitement to the night.
You are also devoting a substantial amount of time to charities, tell us a bit about the projects you currently support with great passion and why?
I’ve long been involved with The Inner City Scholarship Fund / Be a Student’s Friend program in New York and New Jersey. I believe that the Catholic schools in both states provide an amazing opportunity for inner city kids to be taught in an environment that’s safe and gives them a place to grow and thrive, and it makes a huge difference in the lives of children. So I’m all about education and providing opportunity for kids. I don’t think that there’s anything better that you can do with your time or money. I’m involved with a school called the Link Community School in Newark for many years and it’s a gift to me whenever I get a chance to spend some time in one of those schools and I just find it to be such a positive experience – they do such amazing work there.
I’m also involved with Malaria No More which is a great organization that seeks to end malaria forever, globally and they have made enormous strides. That’s very important to me as well.
Another organization I’m involved with is Solider Strong. It is a great group, a very small, tight-knit group that started as a charity that sent socks and supplies to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan now has a mission to help provide prosthetic legs and arms for paraplegics to get out of the chair and walk with an exoskeleton. So the work that I’ve done with them is enormously rewarding as well and I’m honored to be part of all of these organizations.
Busy workdays, motherhood, marriage… PLUS looking great and showing us all that 50s are the new 40s. Please, share some of your tips for feeling and looking great.
I’m just a big believer in exercise, sleep and eating right. I mean that’s not magic – it makes a lot of sense. I run and play tennis and ski. I love active sports. Definitely the older I get the more important I think those things are. I’m blessed with pretty good genes which is very helpful but I think we all have a responsibility to kind of take care of ourselves. We have really busy schedules and travel a lot, so pacing myself and making sure that I get the rest when I need it or I can catchup when I don’t get it is really important. But I just feel very lucky to be feeling great.
Which places in Miami do you enjoy most when you come down here for business or a sweet escape?
I love going to South Beach. I love the whole art scene – it’s fantastic. I’ve spent time over the years at the National and the Surf Club
and the Delano – all the revived art deco hotels along the beach there. It is a really special place and it’s so vibrant. So anytime I get a chance to go there is a treat.