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Cousin Vinny: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Mic
You may recognize his
signature giggle and radio-friendly voice, but what do you really know about your morning radio show co-host? From finding
himself and starting his career, to taking on his newest role – becoming a dad!
– here is everything there is to know about The
Beat 92.5’s Cousin Vinny.
Testing, Testing, 1,2,3…
How does one decide to skip the nine-to-five cubicle lifestyle that seems to do the trick for more than half the population and go into becoming a radio personality instead? For Vinny Barrucco, there never really was any other choice in his mind. “Do you know how many people told me to just go to school?” Barrucco says. Even his own mother encouraged him to at least try going to university. But his answer never changed. “No! I’m not wasting my time doing something I don’t like.” Instead, Barrucco enrolled at Montreal’s Radio and TV School some 15 years ago and the rest, as they say, is history.
For the last six years, Barrucco has been part of The Beat 92.5’s radio team and for the last two years, he’s been the morning show co-host alongside Nikki Balch, and considers himself to be very fortunate because of it. “I feel lucky to do what I do and I’m extremely passionate about it,” Barrucco explains. “Waking up with the whole city is kind of a cool feeling.” No matter his mood on his way in to work, he says it all changes “once you crack the mic.” And that isn’t surprising coming from someone who has been surrounded by media for years. His brother works in film sound production and his sister is an opera singer. In his words, “the mic was just always around.” In a way, it seemed to him as though there was only one clear choice in front of him: “You never know how long you have and you have to try to follow your passion as much as you can,” he says.
As anyone in broadcast will tell you, you don’t land a regular position like Cousin Vinny’s without putting in some long, hard hours over the years. Working late, working for free, and slowly making a name for himself, Barrucco did whatever he had to do to get where he is today. But at the heart of his ambition, was his love for his career. “I always wanted to just be on the air and have fun,” he explains. “You just say to yourself, I hope one day I can make a living off this!”
Morning radio seems to be Barrucco’s ideal fit. “When you do morning radio, you can really connect with the listener,” he says. “You have a little more time to be yourself, a little more time to breathe and talk about what’s going on in our lives.” He loves to dig deeper and talk about what’s going on in the city with his co-hosts and with the listeners, as well. He knows the morning drive can be long and arduous for most people – especially during the harsh winter months – and he considers it a privilege to be able to get Montrealers ready for their day – or at least get them showing up to work in a better mood.
Though he is following the career path he knows he was meant for, waking up with Montrealers everyday means waking up early – really, really early! “The morning show changes your life completely because you have to wake up at 4 a.m.,” he explains. He says he learned the hard way that your entire schedule needs to shift. Staying up later at night and hoping a coffee would do the trick just didn’t work. Barrucco has had to change his lifestyle completely to make sure he wakes up fresh for his morning gig. While the morning show was a huge adjustment, in retrospect, it’s probably done a great job of preparing him for the next step in his life – fatherhood!
What Becoming a Dad Really Means to Him
This past August, Barrucco and his wife Tina Oliveri welcomed their first child into the world – baby girl Sia Maria Barrucco. As a first-time father, Cousin Vinny asked his loyal listeners for tips and advice in the weeks before his daughter was born. But nothing could have prepared him for what life is like now. “People tell you it’s a special moment and you won’t forget it, but it exceeded my expectations,” he says. “Especially that moment when we saw her face. Just her look when she looked at us – there was this feeling of joy. I will never forget that moment. It was the best feeling,” says the doting father. “She’s very gassy. I don’t know if she gets it from me,” he quips.
Jokes aside, the journey into becoming a father has come with a bittersweet feeling for him. Sadly, Barrucco’s own father passed away when he was just 20 years old, but if there’s one thing Barrucco’s father left him with, it was the perfect example of everything a father should be.
“I was blessed to have an incredible father,” he explains. “He was a likeable guy and he had a good character. He was a good man, a good soul. He had a good personality,” Barrucco says of his father. “When I was younger, I always said, ‘When I become a father, I want to be like my dad.’”
Barrucco reminisces with a smile about his father’s active involvement in his life from early on in his childhood. “He coached me in hockey, coached me in baseball,” he explains. “He used to organize all the activities for the kids in Dorval, where I grew up, and so, luckily, he was a man that I looked up to a lot.” Barrucco also admits to jokingly teasing his father for being so involved and showing to each of his hockey practices even when he was a teenager. “I’d say, ‘Dad what are you always doing here?’” Barrucco explains with a laugh. “He’d say, ‘You’ll see one day when you have kids, you’ll see.’”
Well, it seems that day has finally come and Barrucco understands exactly what his father meant. “I never thought I could be so loving and so protective of this little human being – seven pounds worth,” he says. No doubt, becoming a father has shown him what it truly means to love unconditionally and put another human being before yourself in every possible way.
Watching his daughter come into the world has filled Barrucco with unconditional love but fatherhood has also helped him make one surprising realization: “How incredible my wife is as a mother,” he says. “I knew she would be great, but it’s beyond impressive how natural of a mom she is. I have fallen in love with her on another level.”
Cousin Vinny has since returned to the airwaves – probably with less sleep on his side and baby on the brain, but his new life is in full swing. While still new to the whole fatherhood deal, Barrucco admits he worries about not knowing what to do. “I always worry that I’m going to do something wrong,” Barrucco says, echoing the sentiments of new parents everywhere. Though still learning, he has already learned the most important part. “Your mentality starts to change. You’re not thinking about yourself anymore.”
Always quick with a quirky response, Barrucco falls surprisingly silent when asked how he would want his child to describe him in 20 years from now. After a few minutes of deep thought, the morning show host says he’d want his child to think of him as loving, compassionate, silly, and involved. “Just a loving father,” he explains. “I was very thankful that [my father] was so involved in our lives and I look up to him. I still think of him a lot and I will definitely try to emulate him.”
Barrucco isn’t normally one to think too far ahead, but he does have a pretty solid view of the type of father he wants to be. “I want to be a fun parent, a silly parent. It’s my personality by nature,” he says. As Uncle Vinny to his nieces and nephews, he’s used to the fun side of raising children but isn’t quite sure how to navigate the serious stuff just yet. He readily admits his wife will probably have to take on the disciplinarian role in the family, but Barrucco is anxious to be a big part of his child’s life. “I want to be there as much as I can, to do whatever I can – or whatever my wife tells me to do,” he says with a chuckle.
For more laughs with Cousin Vinny – and a few new dad jokes – tune in to The Beat 92.5’s morning show with Vinny and Nikki weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.
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