In the Spotlight: Sherman resident and Bloomberg producer-reporter Susanna Palmer Marker is employee #300 out of thousands. Her impressive career at Bloomberg LP began 21 years ago, well before CEO Michael Bloomberg ever became mayor of New York City.
In an interview, Susanna shared how she first began working for Bloomberg in 1995. She started out as a producer for world and national news for morning programming at Bloomberg Information Television, as it was known then. Just a few months into her new job the focus completely shifted. Susanna found herself concurrently producing and anchoring financial markets and business news.
In 1997, the focus shifted again and Susanna became a business news producer and reporter for Bloomberg Radio at the NYC flagship station AM 1130 WBBR, formerly known as WNEW. During this time, she kept some television duties like interviewing authors and financial experts. She also appeared on a public television program for Maryland Public Television, reporting on the day’s business highlights.
“At one point, I worked offsite on the Nasdaq and I was reporting on financial markets. Sometimes Michael would stop by, in his duties as mayor. He would say to me, ‘don’t screw it up!’ This was his catchphrase that he always used in good humor. He’s a fair person, cares about his employees, and places a high value on loyalty,” she says.
Susanna also recalls attending an event with her husband at the Museum of Natural History. “Michael was there. My husband Chris said to him, ‘you would make a great mayor.’ At the time, he said that he was not considering it. To this day, Chris and I joke about how he planted the seed for Michael to run for office, but of course he didn’t,” she lightheartedly says.
Susanna shared more career highlights while working at Bloomberg LP through the years. She’ll never forget her radio interview with Mark Cuban, the high-profile American businessman and investor who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. He’s also the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV.
Another favorite interview was with Henry Kissinger; a German-American diplomat, political scientist, former National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner. At the time, she says the story just fell into her lap and there was no time to prepare. The television interview was about his experiences as Secretary of State just as the world was becoming more global.
Susanna also covered memorable times in history like the September 11 attacks, the Northeast Blackout of 2003, the Great Recession and their aftermaths. She’ll never forget covering the dot.com bubble bursting, Enron scandal, and housing market crisis as well.
Since 2009, Susanna has worked part-time as a weekend producer-reporter for Bloomberg Radio because she homeschooled a daughter and currently homeschools a son. Her weekend shift is intense and she’s the only one on-duty other than an engineer. She works a 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift on Saturdays, stays in Manhattan overnight, then works another 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift on Sundays.
Susanna produces and reports on business and local news for four major cities. She covers New York City, Washington DC, Boston, and San Francisco along with their metropolitan areas – all from the 731 Lexington Avenue studio.
She sources and researches content for these major markets online, which includes the Bloomberg professional service. Then she writes, records, and puts the local stories on-air.
On the weekends, the computer runs her recorded reports and only breaking news is live.
At times, her job can quickly become very stressful, like when there’s a hurricane or snowstorm that’s hitting a major region and she needs to constantly update many of the local news pieces all at once.
To hear Susanna on-air locally, one can listen to AM 1130. Her news pieces can also be heard on SiriusXM Channel 119 and can be streamed from Bloomberg.com.
At the end of the day, she still “gets a kick out of it” and is passionate about her lifelong career in radio and television.
In Susanna’s earlier career she spent a collective nine years working in smaller markets as a radio producer-reporter and DJ at WRKI-FM and WINE-AM in Brookfield, WDAQ-FM and WLAD-AM in Danbury, and WVIP-AM in Mount Kisco. What she loves the most about this time in her life was “the opportunity to advance, think on my feet, and learn new things,” she says.
Interesting enough, Susanna didn’t go to college for a career in broadcasting. In 1986, she graduated from Alfred University in Alfred, New York with a major in Business Administration and a double minor in International Studies and Spanish. “I thought I wanted to be a diplomat but then I got distracted with radio,” she says.
Susanna’s passion for radio began in childhood. From her parents’ home in Ridgefield, she’d put the transistor on news and music stations and “called in” often to try to win all kinds of contests. She was hooked! It wasn’t until Susanna graduated college that she decided to “take a fun course at Connecticut School of Broadcasting.” After completing the course, Susanna was placed by the school to work a Sunday night shift at WNLK in Norwalk producing an evangelical show with “a very uplifting preacher.”
With a 30-year career in broadcasting, Susanna has “seen it all,” especially with the rise of the internet and social media. “The way we get our news has changed and keeps changing. The whole rise of electronic and social media is really shocking. In these times when everyone has cameras and recording devices on their smartphones, anyone can be a reporter,” she says.
Another big change Susanna has seen is with the global economy. “It all affects us and we can’t be isolationists. The whole world is our marketplace, and we need to keep producing things the world wants. Other countries are challenging us and we need to work hard and make sure our young people are the best educated in the world in order to stay ahead.”
Whenever Susanna isn’t working at Bloomberg Radio, she spends much time with her husband of 22 years, Chris. They have two children, Anastasia and Dmitriy. There’s also “something else” in Susanna’s life that she spends a lot of time with.
“Music has added an enormous amount of value to my life,” she says. For many years, Susanna has performed music with her good friend and Sherman resident, Al Burgasser. In and around town they’re known as Lumos, named after a spell in the Harry Potter novels.
Susanna and Al collaborate well together and harmoniously perform several of their own original “Americana” songs. The duo also cover songs from the 1960s through the 1990s. Susanna sings and plays violin and guitar. Al sings and plays guitar.
Their favorite original song, that fans equally love, is entitled “Regan’s Cabin.” It’s about Susanna’s family cabin in Helena, Montana that was built during the Great Depression. “My grandfather was a dentist who wanted to build a cabin in the mountains for his family to enjoy. If a patient could not pay a bill, he traded his dental services in exchange for labor. Now, the cabin is on the register of historic places,” she says.
Recently, Lumos appeared on CTV, Studio 21, Channel 192 and their performance was broadcast over the course of a couple of weeks. They regularly perform at Amore Restaurant and at the Sherman Senior Center.
Susanna also sings and plays in The Riverbank Banjo Band with her 93-year-old father every week in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her mom used to play percussion in the band, too. They love performing Dixieland music together. Susanna’s dad is an amateur musician. He plays piano, banjo, and accordion. She credits her parents for her love of music.
As for Susanna’s passion for radio, one now knows how it all began. As for her wanting to become a diplomat, well, “there’s always time,” she says!
This article by Alicia Sakal first appeared in Town Tribune.
Lumos photo: Doug Matthewson Other photos: Contributed