Broadcast industry icon Bruce Morrow, better known by his on-the-air name, Cousin Brucie, recently visited Montclair State University’s DuMont Television Center to tape an interview for the Department of Broadcasting’s weekly magazine show, Carpe Diem, and to lead a master class for students.
A 50-year veteran of the broadcast industry, Morrow was a hugely-popular radio personality for New York area hit radio from the late 1950s until the mid 2000s. He now broadcasts internationally on SIRIUS XM Radio, is a partner in a company that at one time operated 92 radio stations around the nation, and has just completed his third book, Rock & Roll—and the Beat Goes On.
Already an established presence in the world of rock and roll radio by the 1960s, Morrow, together with Ed Sullivan, holds the distinction of having introduced The Beatles at their legendary 1966 Shea Stadium concert. “The amount of energy in that stadium was amazing,” recalls Morrow. “There were 65,000 screaming teenagers—mostly girls—and when the band started playing, you couldn’t hear a thing over the noise.”
After being interviewed for Carpe Diem by Jeff Friedman, director of the DuMont Television Center, Morrow conducted a master class for Broadcasting students speaking about his life, and about radio’s past, present, and future. “You guys are in for a ride,” he told the students. “Learn your basics and listen to your teachers—they’ve been there. Ask questions because that’s how you’re going to learn.”
Morrow spoke of the importance of responsibility to the listening audience, and knowing what the audience wants to hear as two of the keys to success. He also commented on the change over the years in the way that radio hosts relate to their audiences.
“Those of you who have heard me on the air understand my kind of broadcasting is not too common anymore,” said Morrow. “I speak to people—most broadcasters speak at people. I make people feel very comfortable, as if they know me—because I make them feel that they know me. I talk to them, never at them. Try to remember that,” he advised.
In addition to giving advice and entertaining the attendees with his stories, Morrow also had words of praise for the Broadcasting students and faculty who worked on the Carpe Diem taping. “It was a great experience,” he said. “That was as professional as I’ve ever seen and I’ve been on every T.V. network and every cable network. Congratulations, it was really great.”
Morrow will be returning to the Montclair State University campus on May 15, 2010 to speak at the College of the Arts Convocation ceremony and receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. “This honor means so much to me,” he said. “I’ve been in all kinds of Halls of Fame and I’ve been honored all over the country, and this probably is my number one. This means more to me than anything else because it recognizes accomplishment by peers, by educated people, and by people of an institution of this prestige.”
View more photos from the event.
View a video about Cousin Brucie's SIRIUS XM Radio show.