Q&A: Preston & Steve’s Marisa Magnatta Talks Wawa Menu Hacks and Tina Fey
The radio producer and gal-about-town is celebrating 20 years at WMMR — half her life.
My full name is … Marisa Kanra Angelina Magnatta. Kanra is my mom’s first name, and Angelina is my confirmation name.
I grew up … in Cherry Hill first, and then outside Philly. Main Line-ish. Okay, Gladwyne, but I don’t like to say that because it sounds bougie.
In high school at Springside, my worst subject was … most definitely geography. I have no sense of direction. You tell me to meet you on the southeast corner of 15th and Chestnut, and I have no idea what that means.
My first job in life was … as a lifeguard at the Belmont Hills pool. I had to get my certification at the last minute because my brother, who was a lifeguard there, decided to go to Woodstock ’99, and he needed me to cover for him.
I like to collect … texts. I currently have 154 unread text messages. (Sorry!)
When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be … an interior designer, when I was very little. But then by high school, a photojournalist. I was really intrigued learning about 1960s history and the photographers who went to Vietnam.
If someone were to play me in the movie about my life, it would have to be … Tina Fey, of course.
In high school, I was voted … the person you would find skipping class to go to the darkroom. But I was actually given the “Most Spirited” award. I wasn’t the best athlete, but I gave it my all. I was one of those people who you want to give an award to but I wasn’t an MVP, so basically, they gave me a Miss Congeniality type of award.
Some of the famous people I’ve met through my job with Preston & Steve and WMMR include … Dave Grohl, Bradley Cooper, Rob McElhenney, M. Night. So many.
I started at the station … as a promotions intern in 2003, and then when Preston & Steve moved from Y100 to WMMR in 2005, I was there temporarily to help them get adjusted. I never left.
One alcoholic beverage I will never drink again is … brown liquor. My friend and I stole my dad’s J&B whisky when I was 16. It ruined me.
If you’re taking me out to dinner, let’s go … someplace I’ve never been. One of the restaurants on Philly Mag’s latest 50 Best Restaurants list.
Something I cook really well is … baked ziti.
The best concert I ever saw was … Foo Fighters at the Tower. Acoustic, 2006.
I like to snack on … everything, especially those mini Drumstick ice-cream cones. It feels like you’re not eating a lot, so you can eat three.
My secret talent is that I can … paint my nails anywhere, including in an elevator. I have this amazing 90-second-dry nail polish.
In a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill with Rocky, Drago and Adonis Creed, I would … definitely fuck Drago, because, c’mon, he’s Drago, and then I could just walk away. I couldn’t marry Rocky or live with Rocky based on how he lives in the movies, so I would marry Adonis. And, therefore, Rocky becomes an innocent bystander.
My last Wawa order was … a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato. They don’t really have grilled cheese. It’s a menu hack. You order a cheese sandwich with tomato and say yes when the computer thing asks if you want your order toasted.
One of my favorite moments from the Preston & Steve show was … when we dropped 10,000 marbles down the Art Museum steps in honor of the Phillies losing their 10,000th game.
If I hit the Mega Millions, I will … buy one of those stupidly priced houses in Philadelphia with a two-car garage and roof deck, go on a crazy vacation, and bring back the overnight DJ to WMMR.
If I weren’t doing this … I am clueless as to what I would be doing. I started doing this when I was 20. And now I’ve been doing it for 20 years. So I kinda don’t know where my life would have led if not for this.
Published as “One of Us: Marisa Magnatta” in the March 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.