Completing in his words a "full circle," Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow will rejoin WABC/770 AM Saturday, with the launch of "Cousin Brucie's Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party" (6-9 p.m.), which will also be simulcast on sister station WLIR/107.1 FM in Hampton Bays.
Morrow needs no introduction, but just in case: He helped change the world during his original run on 770 (1961-74) as rock 'n roll champion and, most notably, champion of the Beatles. A short stint at WNBC/660 AM and a much longer one at WCBS/101.1 FM was followed by a 15-year run at SiriusXM which ended Aug. 1.
An edited version of our recent chat:
Once and for all, let's set the record straight. How old are you?
I'm 84 going on 52 [but] a number is just a number. It's how the person feels and I feel wonderful.
Did you ever think of retiring?
It's not in my vocabulary because when I'm ready to go I'm going to explode into 25,000 pieces. I can't stop. There's no way. And as long as this audience wants Cousin Brucie and wants the music — our music — I'll always be there.
Why leave Sirius which seemed like a pretty good gig?
It was 15 very good years, I must say, [but] after about ten or 12 years I started getting a little wanderlust. I wanted something more and to complete my career circle, which is a very big circle by the way.
WABC has gone all talk and all conservative talk since last you were here. Does this mean you'll lean into opinions you've hidden from listeners over a 60-year run?
The deal we have is no politics at all on my show. I will go on cold [Saturday night] and I'm going to tell my audience something like this — 'Cousins, here's what we're doing for the next three hours. No politics. No problems. No racial issues. Nothing. I just want you to relax. Nothing! I just want you to relax and be yourself, and we're going to escape a little bit.' That's what the audience wants from me … I mean I can't even favor the Mets against the Yankees. I have to be careful. I don't want to upset anybody.
You certainly do know your fans — many of whom have been with you all these decades.
I learned a long time ago, Cousin Verne, to talk to people like I'm talking with you right now. Over the years [fans] keep calling me and you get to know who they are. 'Oh hi Mary,' and I know who Mary is. I can picture Mary. They'll send me their happiness or their sadness. I'm very involved with their lives.
Indeed, but will they follow you back over to terrestrial radio — and AM no less which is having its own particular problems right now?
So-called terrestrial is in a state of flux [but] because of technology, a radio can sit in your back pocket [and] if you are in Los Angeles or down in Mexico City you can still hear Cousin Brucie. Or you can go to Alexa. It's called connectivity and boy, in this climate do we ever need something basic, something to put our feet on. We're all so anxious, nervous, and here is a way of connecting again with somebody they have a good warm feeling for and they know this person has a warm feeling for them … We are in deep trouble but every once in awhile we come across these little tiny bits of light and I'm going to be one of those tiny bits of light.
By the way, what is the secret to your happiness?
My mom and dad taught me to respect people, to love people when they deserved it, to be involved and never be afraid to be involved. I am not afraid to be involved in people's lives. I crave it. I want it very badly. I care about what I'm doing. I care about my music, and I care about this audience.
Tell me about the show. Did I read somewhere you're gonna play some stuff from the '80s?
You know, at first I was — it is 2020 after all — but within 24 hours my mind was changed by [my] audience on social media. They screamed — 'everybody's doing '80s. We want 50s, 60s, 70s! That's where you belong! …' So that's what's gonna happen … They also want jingles [and] reverb, or that echo from years ago. They want the warmth the echo gives. At first I wasn't going to do it — corny! nobody does that anymore! — but you know what? Vox populi.