Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.
Neil A. Carousso is the producer of The 880 Weekly Rewind with Lynda Lopez, airing Friday nights at 7 PM on WCBS Newsradio 880. Each week Lynda talks with newsmakers for a deep dive into the top stories of the week and the impact it has on people.


  • AUDIO: Adams would mandate COVID vaccine for NYC schoolkids if FDA approves shot

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    By Lynda Lopez

    Produced by Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Democratic nominee for New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday said he would issue a vaccine mandate for all public school students if the shot is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    In an interview with WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez, the mayoral hopeful said that vaccine mandates are nothing new for the United States, and he believes that they are necessary to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.

    “This is a city and country where we do vaccinate. I was vaccinated for smallpox, for mumps, measles and so many others. We already have a system in place that states before you start school, you receive your vaccination,” Adams said. “It is to protect the child and the student population. We saw, historically, what happens when you have an outbreak of a certain type of illness that we can prevent … so I say yes, if it is FDA approved, we should also mandate it, as we mandate with other vaccinations.”

    His comments came just hours after current Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by his decision not to require COVID vaccinations for school kids once they’re approved for children under 11.

    “The issue that’s been raised so many times is, should there be a mandate for a child to be able to go to our schools. And I feel very strongly, our health care team feels strongly, our Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter feels very strongly our kids need to be in school,” de Blasio told WNYC on Friday. “So, I’ve said I’m not ready, nor is the Chancellor to exclude children who are unvaccinated because their parent won’t let them be vaccinated. That’s the reality. The child doesn’t get to decide, the parents have to give consent.”

    Eric Adams
    Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams at a rally in Brooklyn on Sept. 9, 2021. (Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    The mayor noted that 75% of teenagers in the city are vaccinated and believes younger children “will be even a higher percentage ultimately.”

    “But I’m not going to, certainly not at this point, I’m not going to say a child can’t come to school if they’re unvaccinated because they’ve been excluded from education for too long,” he added.

    In his interview, Adams also said that he would sit down with NYPD and FDNY union leaders to issue a vaccine mandate for both departments, as well as schools.

    “I believe there’s a way to work this out where we all will see the importance of having our first line workers being vaccinated,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee talked about the city’s Gifted and Talented program for kindergartners – which Mayor de Blasio has planned to do away with – saying he would like to preserve the program, but restructure it to make it more accessible to all New Yorkers.

    “I have been extremely vociferous around the expansion of programs for accelerated learners,” he said. “I believe that we should have students opt out of the tests and not have to navigate the process to sign up for the tests. And we should not only test at 4-years-old but throughout the educational system. It is wrong and it is unfair to test the child at 4, and it will determine their entire educational career.”

    Subscribe and download The 880 Weekly Rewind podcast for in-depth reporting and deeper analysis of the top stories of the week, produced by Neil A. Carousso, for WCBS-AM New York.

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  • VIDEO: Why Barbara Corcoran Believes Best Investments are in People

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Barbara Corcoran, the self-made “queen of New York real estate,” has always put her customers and her workers, first. That mantra is guiding her businesses out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I don’t buy businesses. I buy people,” Corcoran told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the latest WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    “The reason I was able to build such a large company is because I adored my employees and would do anything for them at any time – anything for them – they came first,” she said. “You have to have that attitude toward employees if you want to do well with them.”

    A tight labor market has left many job postings unfilled. The “Shark Tank” star said the businesses that have survived the pandemic are growing, but their biggest challenge is hiring and retaining workers.

    “It’s not just at your local restaurants, it’s at your dry cleaners, it’s at your technology companies. Everyone across the board is having a hard time attracting employees,” she said.

    Corcoran noted one way to limit turnover is to pay more competitive salaries. She explained many customers are willing to support small businesses in their communities.

    “They’re very amiable to helping small businesses if they think they’re helping a good business get ahead. So, you can pass on a lot of those costs, but you have to pay people more,” said Corcoran.

    Barbara Corcoran
    Barbara Corcoran listens to a pitch on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” (Photo Credit: ABC)

    She told WCBS 880 businesses must be more flexible with remote work, too.

    “You have to give them the latitude and the freedom to work different hours, which now, people have been spoiled by because of COVID. Anybody who’s dictating that you must be here 9 to 5, come every day of the week, is not getting the employees because employees have other choices. They just move on and get a better boss so you have to be a phenomenally good boss and do everything you can to help that employee and that’s how you get them,” Corcoran said.

    She describes “good bosses” as those who put the needs of their customers and employees before their own. She believes that’s the primary reason that The Corcoran Group blossomed into a $5 billion company when she sold it in 2001.

    Corcoran called companies that are still not embracing remote work “stupid.”

    “If you’re not budging, you’re stupid because you’re not doing what is the basic, core essence of all business: it’s called change,” she said, noting the seismic shifts businesses have been forced to adapt to over the past 19 months. “Let me tell you, if you don’t acknowledge the change that happens, you don’t stay in business.”

    The famous entrepreneur said on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight that the job of the business owner is to spot trends early and direct their team “on which ways to run.” That’s how, she said, small businesses become big businesses.

    “You know, the great advantage I saw early in my business when I looked around and saw my big competitors was I picked up on their attitude. They were big shots. The minute I saw everyone playing ‘big shot,’ I knew I had a shot,” said Corcoran, adding, “Most big businesses think they’re competing with other big businesses. They’re not. That’s not the enemy. The enemy is the little business that’s going to come up from behind and bite you in the butt.”

    She said she tells companies like Ernst & Young in corporate speeches to think small. As for small businesses, Corcoran advises to learn everything about operating the business; those that are hungry will win the race.

    Corcoran turned a $1,000 loan from a boyfriend in 1973 into a multi-billion dollar real estate empire. She told Connolly and Carousso that she budgeted every cent and hustled for every sale to keep her little business alive in the early days. That’s what she’s seeing new entrepreneurs doing today in season 13 of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

    “So many of the entrepreneurs that were standing before us either got fired or left their job,” Corcoran said. “They had part-time things they liked to do and they just decided they had time to think about it. They weren’t happy with their life and that was the time to make a big change and they took their part-time gig and they made it a full-time business. And, ironically, those were the strongest businesses we saw.”

    See what it takes to make your dreams a reality on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight featuring Barbara Corcoran above.

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  • INTERVIEW: Sliwa fires back at Adams, talks crime and more ahead of mayoral election

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    By Lynda Lopez

    Produced by Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — With less than a month to go before voters head to the polls to decide the next mayor of New York City, WCBS 880 spoke with GOP candidate Curtis Sliwa for this week’s 880 Weekly Rewind.

    During an interview with anchor Lynda Lopez, Sliwa discussed his views on a number of pressing issues affecting New York City, including homelessness, Rikers Island, crime rates and more.

    “I’m in the streets, I’m in the public housing projects, I’m in the subway – not with antics – doing the things. For instance, in Brooklyn – which has a severe crime problem, garbage in the streets, all kinds of potholes, quality of life problems – [I’m] really doing the job that the Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, should be doing,” Sliwa said, taking a jab at his Democratic opponent.

    The founder of the Guardian Angels crime prevention organization noted he had been personally dealing with these types of issues for several years. He said his experiences can help him lead the city in change.

    “I walk the streets, ride the subways with no security whatsoever,” Sliwa said, adding that he believes the mayor should be “a role model” for New Yorkers.

    Sliwa also took a moment to respond to Adams’ accusations that he has made a “circus” of the New York City mayoral election.

    “He may call [my actions] antics, I call them doing service. When you go into a public housing complex at night…and begin to do verticals in a gang controlled public housing complex, or visit Rikers Island to meet with correctional officers on a shift change and see all the problems – that’s not antics, that’s serving the general public,” Sliwa said.

    The GOP candidate accused Adams of being too preoccupied with being “wined, dined and pocket lined” to deal with the issues.

    Subscribe and download The 880 Weekly Rewind podcast for in-depth reporting and deeper analysis of the top stories of the week, produced by Neil A. Carousso, for WCBS-AM New York.

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  • No Laughing Matter: Caroline’s on Broadway Struggles Despite Theatres Reopening

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Broadway’s return is not providing the comedic relief clubs in the theatre district had been hoping.

    Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of Caroline’s on Broadway, told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso she has never experienced a challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic in her four decades in business.

    “Business was going very well until Delta hit again and people were alarmed about going out and being in crowds,” she said of the dominant strain of the virus on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    The iconic comedy club reopened Memorial Day Weekend with a ton of pent-up demand for laughs. It took a turn late summer.

    “When the vaccine mandate came out, it really curtailed business,” said Hirsch, explaining, “We have people who are canceling because somebody in their group is not vaccinated so they won’t come.”

    She told WCBS 880 that she believes vaccine mandates are hurting New York’s live entertainment industry, but elevated COVID-19 infections are driving hesitancy as well.

    “Some comedians don’t want to go on tour; they want to wait until 2022. So, therefore, we have a bit of a talent shortage,” Hirsch said. “First, we had a labor shortage. We couldn’t hire enough waiters and waitresses. We couldn’t hire enough staff people in the kitchen.”

    Carolines On Broadway Owner Caroline Hirsch
    Carolines On Broadway Owner Caroline Hirsch Photo credit Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Ms. Foundation For Women

    Caroline’s on Broadway had also been relying on private parties this fall to recover some losses, but some events have been postponed to next year. As a result, she predicts businesses in the Theatre District will experience a slow recovery.

    A handful of Broadway shows returned last month at full capacity for fully vaccinated and masked audience members, cast and crew. But, on opening night, Hirsch asked workers in a garage how many cars arrived and found out only two people drove in to see a show.

    “I think we need to be realistic about this and not just say, ‘Oh, Broadway’s reopening,’ but Broadway’s going to have a really tough time reopening. And, I think that we all need to help them out. I think people have to make a concerted effort to go out and buy a ticket to Broadway,” she said.

    Caroline’s organizes the annual New York Comedy Festival, which makes its return to the stage November 8-14 with pop-up shows throughout the five boroughs.

    “We’re going to do close to 150 shows around the city,” Hirsch told Connolly and Carousso.

    Bill Maher, Marc Maron and Michelle Wolf are among the comics taking the microphone.

    “You’ll have a great laugh,” said Hirsch who admits despite all the pandemic challenges and stress, she is still laughing, herself.

    Caroline’s on Broadway first opened as a small cabaret in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in 1981 before moving to the South Street Seaport six years later. It eventually made its home on Broadway in 1992. Hirsch is known for giving Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and countless other comedians their start.

    Watch the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above for ideas on getting Broadway back on its feet.

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  • WCBS 880 Weekly Rewind: Shining a Light on Missing Persons Cases; NJ Nurse Has Change of Heart about COVID Vaccine

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    Produced by Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The case of Gabby Petito has garnered national attention and her family is hoping to bring awareness to other missing persons cases. Lynda Lopez covers some of those and what resources are available for families on The 880 Weekly Rewind.

    Plus, vaccination mandates lead to more Americans getting the COVID shot. A New Jersey nurse, previously vocal against the vaccine and mandates, told WCBS 880 why she changed her mind and is now promoting the shot.

    Lopez also looks at the dangers of the U.S. defaulting on its roughly $30 trillion debt ahead of a fast approaching deadline while President Joe Biden meets with Democrats to urge unity over the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion social spending package.

    Subscribe and download The 880 Weekly Rewind podcast for in-depth reporting and deeper analysis of the top stories of the week, produced by Neil A. Carousso, for WCBS-AM New York.

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