New York City might be the city that never sleeps, but around 4:30am, most of its residents are still tucked up in bed, squeezing in a couple of extra hours of sleep before work— that is, unless you’re Rosanna Scotto. This early hour has been Scotto’s weekday wake-up time since last September upon taking over as co-anchor with Greg Kelly on Fox 5 Live’s Good Day New York broadcast from 7-9am. For Scotto, a 51-year-old mother of two, getting used to the hour has been quite a life change. “I had no alarm clock for 20 years,” she says. “I used to wake up to the sounds of my kids.”
Scotto is a New York native who grew up in Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights in a family of four kids. She attended elementary school at Visitation Academy and high school at Packer Collegiate Institute before heading off to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., for college.
At Catholic, Scotto met her husband Louis Ruggiero, a football player and accounting major, and began to map out her career path. While Scotto studied theater and fine arts at college, she dabbled in broadcast journalism through internships. She eventually realized that theater was not for her— “I didn’t have the stomach for the auditions or waiting tables,” she says— and focused her attention on broadcast.
While still in college, Scotto was introduced to New York news anchor Ernie Anastos, who told her that in order to make it in the business of broadcast, she should finish college and start her career in a smaller television market than New York.
Scotto followed Anastos’s advice. After graduating college, she took her first job in broadcast at WTBS in Atlanta. Scotto returned to her home area of New York in 1982 to work as a freelance segment producer for WABC’s The Morning Show with Regis Philbin, which eventually became Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. During her three years at WABC, Scotto also worked as a reporter for Eyewitness News. Then on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1986, the same year she and Ruggiero got married, Scotto joined Fox News, where she remains today.
Scotto began as a weekend anchor and reporter, moving on in 1994 to serve as a co-anchor on the weekday edition of Fox 5 News during the evening broadcasts. On top of her professional pursuits, Scotto also had the responsibility of caring for her two young children. Scotto says that after her children, Jenna, 20, and L.J., 15, were born, she was able to return to work thanks to her and her husband’s teamwork. “I’m fortunate because my husband picked up the pieces when I went back to work,” Scotto says.
Now that Scotto is at the helm of the early morning broadcast, her workday ends at noon and allows her to be home all afternoon and evening. But regardless of her broadcast career, Scotto has always managed to juggle work and family time. “It’s a struggle every day,” she says. “You always strive for that balance.” Scotto says that throughout her children’s lives, she has made sure to stay involved by volunteering at their schools, going on class trips and consistently being home in time for dinner.
Food and family go hand-in-hand in Scotto’s world. She says “hanging out with the family and cooking” is one of her favorite ways to relax, and Scotto, her mother, her sister and her two brothers own the Italian restaurant Fresco By Scotto on East 52nd Street in Manhattan. “The family congregates there,” Scotto explains. Scotto’s children have a hands-on role in the restaurant; her son has prepped calamari in the kitchen and washed dishes, and her daughter has been “the hostess with the mostest,” Scotto says.
Between work at Fox and Fresco By Scotto and family obligations, Scotto has a lot on her plate. But she is able to maintain her schedule, and her sanity, by being flexible and not stressing about the small stuff, something she believes other moms should do, too. “[Moms] need to put less pressure on themselves,” she says. “[They] need to give themselves a break.”