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David "Cuzin' Dave Wilson" Newman passes away

by The Spektron

            For 40 years, Cuzin' Dave and his show have been cornerstones of WRUW's programming and community, as well as greater Cleveland radio in general.  Dave brought a remarkable wealth of twang, country, western, roots, and branches to the homes and hearts of people across the country.  He's been a strong support to countless local and national musicians, and has made even more friends through his knowledge of music, his good humor, and his unwavering geniality and kindness to all.

            In no small feat, "When the Roses Bloom Again" is the longest running show in WRUW's history, and it will continue at least through the end of the year in the hands of Dot, JEG, and other friends of Cuzin' Dave's at the station.  We can also assure you that for as far as we can see, Thursday evenings at WRUW will always be home to country, folk, and bluegrass.

            The Cuzin' Dave saga began in the early 1970's when he and wife Denise started a roots show, "Down Home" on Saturday mornings.  When fellow country programmer Kenny Zapp left WRUW in the mid-70's, David stepped in to what would be the Thursday night spot he called home for 35 years, the show which eventually became "When the Roses Bloom Again."

            Many stories have spurned from his time spent at WRUW.  He and his fellow country programmers adopted the name "Wilson" after country singer Rose Wilson, who was a longtime fan of the show.  He used to hold "post-production meetings" at the Barking Spider after every show, and congregate at Sokolowski's University Inn on Saturdays.  And somehow, he and his co-hosts managed to maintain an incredible show, despite the fact that the only time he had a chance to really speak to them during the show was on every Thanksgiving, while airing Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."

            On August 30, a number of WRUW members in conjunction with family and friends of Cuzin Dave's and the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, held a benefit concert in his honor.  Hundreds of people turned out, including musicians, and artists and businesspeople who generously donated items for raffles and auctions.  The evening was an incredible testament to the number of people whose lives Cuzin' Dave impacted, and the relentless joy he brought to each and every one of them.

            All of us at WRUW are deeply saddened by his passing, as Cuzin' Dave has been a true patriarch of the station.  He will be impossible to replace in so many ways, and he will be missed tremendously.  Still, the show must go on, and we'll be doing our best to keep on the sunny side, and we hope you do too.

            WRUW thanks everyone for their support of Cuzin' Dave in these recent, trying times, and always.  Donations can be made at the American Cancer Society, 10501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106, or American Heart Association, P.O. Box 163549, Columbus OH 43216.


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