Call it “Close Encounters of the Scruffy Kind!”
The rare October snowstorm that blanketed many neighborhoods north and west of New York City has still left many homes and businesses without power.
One of those people with no electricity since the Nor’easter hit last Saturday is longtime WCBS 880 afternoon anchor Wayne Cabot.
Before too long, the lifelong Hunterdon County resident decided to hold a whimsical “beard protest” as a way of drawing attention to his plight.
“As the days went on, I kept seeing my beard get longer,” Cabot tells FishbowlNY. “After five, six days, I was like, ‘The heck with this, I might as well keep this beard going until the power comes back on.'”
As of this writing, it is day seven and still no electricity at the Cabot household.
“My whole street is out,” Cabot says. “Our town is slowly coming back.”
Power supplier, JCP&L has told Cabot that the the juice would come back this Wednesday. Frustratingly, though, the work crews never completed his block, and the time frame was extended to Thursday and today. Now, on JCP&L’s Website, Cabot says parts of their coverage area will have one more day to wait before seeing the light.
“I may not have to shave for awhile,” Cabot jokes.
He has not been shy about mentioning it on the air, but cautions, “I’m not trying to pile on JCP&L.”
Cabot, though, says his role as an anchor is not compromised by the “protest,” saying it is done in a “light-hearted way.”
“We called it a protest, but I’m not sure what I’m protesting exactly,” Cabot admits. “It’s just a fun thing, it’s not really directed at JCP&L, it’s about my situation generally.”
The veteran WCBS newsman updates his Facebook friends with the electricity status by simply posting a photo of his beard.
Despite losing many amenities in the lengthy power outage, Cabot shines praise on the utility company.
“These guys have an incredible job to do,” Cabot says. “I’ve never seen devastation like this.”
Cabot says, in the past, restoring power used to be a quick fix, now, inevitably, it takes days or even weeks.
“I don’t blame these guys,” Cabot says. “They’re out there. They’re trying.”
The traditionally, clean-shaven Cabot, 47, says he’ll keep the beard beyond the protest, “as long as the wife says it’s ok.
“I kind of look like Don Johnson lost his razor,” Cabot deadpans.
Although Cabot is hoping to have electricity turned on at any moment, he’s enjoyed the family adventure.
“There’s a roaring fire in the fireplace, there’s coffee brewing on the camp stove, and there’s togetherness,” Cabot adds. “Forced togetherness!”