‘What a Great Way to Make Lots of People Happy’

Elvis Duran

Shortly before the start of NAB Show, the Daily News spoke with nationally-syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran, who was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Monday evening. On receiving the honor, Duran said, “There’s no way I could accept recognition of this magnitude without full disclosure — without the family of people I work with every single day, there would be no awards. No listeners. No career! My fire would burn out without them. This is their award.”

“Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” distributed by Premiere Radio Networks, is broadcast from New York City’s Z100. Duran and his on-air crew feature up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit music and regular features. The show airs on more than 80 radio stations nationwide, as well as XM Satellite Radio, iHeartRadio and The Elvis Duran Channel at ElvisDuran.com.

DAILY: What were your formative experiences with radio as a youngster?

DURAN: My first connection with radio was while tucked into bed at my grandmother’s house, listening to legendary Top 40 station KLIF on a tiny transistor radio. It was while “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” was blaring out of the little, brassy speaker that it hit me — I love this! The DJ was talking directly to me… offering me prizes if I was “caller 10”; introducing me to a new song from an artist I’d never heard of; forecasting the next day’s weather… This guy was a god! And my friend.

DAILY: Did those experiences influence your decision to go into broadcasting? If not, what sparked your interest?

DURAN: I began to study Dallas radio, station- by-station, and discovered KVIL on the FM. And it was the family of DJs that hooked me. Morning man, ringleader, Ron Chapman, had his cast of friends with him every day. They would joke around with each other while discussing nothing more than getting up, dressed, out the door, into traffic… to work or school. That simple! And I was invited to listen in and be a part.

And then the on-air bits: Chapman would race the afternoon guy, Michael Selden, around the world, with call-ins at all hours of the day and night. They would have weekend promotions where you would have to listen nonstop to count the songs to win a car on Monday morning. I loved it all! What a great way to make lots of people happy at the same time! I had to do this!

DAILY: What changes are you seeing right now in how people are consuming your show?

DURAN: Well, the most obvious ways are “on demand” and through podcast extensions. Our show consists of many different topic segments that are easily broken down and digestible as individual experiences. And our podcasts (approaching a dozen under our umbrella) are a fantastic way for listeners to closely connect with our show members individually, while highlighting specialized areas of focus as opposed to the general nature of the main show. With these both, the numbers continue to grow at a rapid pace and we love being able to grab more time with our listeners… whenever they choose!

DAILY: What do you see as the biggest challenge or issue facing the radio industry in the coming five years?

DURAN: Most points usually described as “challenges” I view as opportunities. For instance, as many assumed emerging technologies would erode our radio fan base, it has actually increased awareness of our brands and concepts. I will say, though, the need to grow and encourage new talent is where we should place our focus. The on-air/ online talent pool is evaporating. Also, we’re in desperate need of effective talent coaches and producers. This is an immediate need.