Why Maria Bartiromo and CNBC Matter

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You really can't begin an ode to Maria Bartiromo without this CNBC classic:

ICYMI: Maria Bartiromo is leaving CNBC for Fox Business.

I don't agree with everything Maria says. I don't always agree with the stances individual personalities and the approaches dynamic television networks take. But that's the very thing that makes them -- individuals and the larger entities they help create -- such important parts of our lives. Personalities who operate along a wide spectrum of styles come together to create this informative and entertaining whole that triggers emotion in us, even if on some subconscious level, and keeps us coming back for more.

Of course, I operate in the media vacuum. That means CNBC, for instance, works as part of my life in a different way than it does yours. But, I reckon similarities exist.

When Erin Burnett said goodbye alongside Mark Haines, I cried:

When she said goodbye to Jim Cramer, I laughed and cried:

When Mark Haines unexpectedly passed away, I cried. I spent the day in shock, but also in admiration of the way his colleagues handled that day. With just the right balance of attention, respect and reporting of the other news of the day.

Like you, I have my favorite CNBC personalities. And my least favorite. That's the beauty of TV and media in general. We love and we hate. And we watch, read and/or listen. If CNBC didn't serve all flavors of passion along with stock market and business news, it, at least for me, wouldn't capture my attention nearly as much as it does.

CNBC has been a part of my life for more than 30 years. I've been watching Maria -- who I call by her first name even though I have never met her -- since I was 18.

You can imagine how weird it must have felt to get the call -- over a year ago now -- to appear on CNBC. First I was nervous. Then I was emotional. Then I was nervous and emotional as hell.

Simon Hobbs intimidated me. And I couldn't help but think, as I interacted with Carl Quintanilla for the first time, that I was side-by-side on international television with the modern-day version of one of my heroes, Bob Costas.

I worried somebody would make me look like a fool. Or, more apropos, I would make myself look like a fool! And, I not too proud to admit, that moment came -- and went -- during my first and only appearance on "Fast Money." You live. And you learn.

Just a few months ago, I somehow made my way onto "Squawk Box." I have been watching one of the show's hosts, Joe Kernan, since he worked for the Financial News Network (FNN), an entity CNBC gobbled up when I was teenager.

Just over a year ago, I joined TheStreet ( TST) full-time. Of course, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," Jim Cramer, founded TheStreet. There's not a morning I don't pinch myself when I consider how lucky I am to have this opportunity. I still get chills when Cramer Tweets one of my articles or, in a few short words via email, says something like Good job.

It's an understatement to call these experiences surreal.

But, at day's end, like you, I'm a viewer. There are times I pump my fist in shared triumph to something somebody said on CNBC. There are times I turn off the television in disgust. But I always go back.

CNBC has been a part of my life for the larger part of three decades. To anybody with something more than a passing interest in the stock market, CNBC is like family. A family complete with members you can't imagine being gone (Haines), but, when they are, you manage to, somehow, get by without them. That's what will happen in the absence of Maria Bartiromo.

Undoubtedly, she'll bring a few viewers to Fox. But, the world turns and moves forward. There's probably not a bigger budding star in television than the person CNBC chose to replace Maria -- Kelly Evans. CNBC will not only survive, it will thrive.

It will survive and thrive because it boasts a stable of great personalities and strong professionals who, while larger-than-life in their own distinct ways, each play a part in something that's much bigger than one person.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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