Elvis Duran from Z’s ‘Meet Market’ featuring Jason Derulo | WPIX 11 New York
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With more than seven million listeners per week, Duran hosts the No.
Over the last 20 yearsDuran has interviewed almost every artist in the music industry. As listeners know, he's always interested in the day's trending topics, the Daily Sleaze a gossip segment and, of course, phone taps.
Duran turns 50 on Aug. Tell me about this milestone and how you're feeling. I'm feeling great about it.
A lot of people freak out when they start turning these benchmark numbers and I think that's so silly because there's nothing you can do about it. But I think it's great because I'm starting to really notice life from a different set of eyes. I'm much more mindful of who's around me, where I'm going, what I'm doing and what I'm smelling and eating. I think it's a wonderful thing turning I think everyone should do it at least once. What are you looking to accomplish in the coming years?
I'm definitely not even thinking of retiring. Look, it would be great to be on a beach and doing nothing for a while, but what we do, our passions, are who we are -- and this is what I love and going to work every day and working with my favorite friends I can't imagine not doing this. But as far as new options, I think there aren't any! I mean this is it. Oh, shit, this is it! Maybe I'll start waking up later and doing something later in the day, but other than that, I can't really see myself doing anything else.
I love it so much, I can't imagine. Elvis with Mariah Carey in How did you begin your career? Did you major in radio or broadcasting in college?
I actually got a job at a little local radio station in suburban Dallas before I was in college. I was in high school -- I was 14 years old, actually, very young.
And then when I went to college, I studied some radio courses and I was already doing major market radio in Dallas on the weekends and all of the professors were just saying the wrong things and I didn't know what they were talking about. So I actually flunked out of Radio because I was doing it and I didn't agree with what they were saying. So, I just started doing it. That's the best way to get into it. Do you have a favorite interning experience? The first job I ever had was a very low-paying job, and the guy running the radio station was so poor, he couldn't pay us sometimes -- so it's almost like an internship, right?
The little station I worked for had no listeners whatsoever, so it was a great training ground for someone at 14 years old. I knew then I was destined for greatness. What's the best advice you got along the way? It's very simple, but if you want to be a communicator in your business, my business or any business, never underestimate who's listening to you, because they know if you're full of crap or not. People are very smart. So if you're yourself, they may not like what you're saying, but they should at least appreciate that it's coming from a very honest place.
Honesty and being yourself, I think that's the best advice I ever got. Speaking of being yourself, you publicly came out inbut you told HuffPost last year that you never were closeted on the airyou just chose not to make a big deal about it. Still, did anything change after that moment? Or were you exactly the same person? I don't think I'm a different person, but as far as on the show, it really was a lesson of my own advice, and that was to be yourself and be honest.
Being able to talk about my private life, my personal life, was very freeing. It was just a great experience. And I was always the host of the party and I encouraged everyone else on the show to give everything and talk about your private life, because people want to hear it so they can relate, and I never really gave myself a chance to do that.
And I wasn't hiding from being gay. I never wanted it to be the "Elvis is Gay" show, and I was afraid it would become that. I didn't want that to be my whole self.
And it turns out, I was wrong the whole time, it never took over. I'm still me, no matter if I'm gay or straight or whatever. But it did give me license to be more free and to tell it like it is. I learned something from that, I really did.
Elvis in studio on August 12, I think you are extremely inspiring and definitely a voice of our generation. How does it make you feel to know there are millions of people listening to you every morning?
It makes me feel great.
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At the end of the day, this is a business and there are some people sitting in a room somewhere making a lot of money from our shows [laughs]. But you know what? Our success in our circle comes from getting in there and having fun every day. It's crazy that they actually pay us to come in here and have fun. But it makes me feel good when we meet people on the street or on the phones or on social media that are actually responding to what we're saying -- it's good to get that recognition.
You started on "The Morning Show" inalmost 20 years ago. Sum up the experience working for Z It's great, because I used to do afternoons in a room by myself playing songs in a row and all that stuff. And I never got to stop the music and talk to people and interact with people.
They really want you to "keep the music going! You can tell while you're talking to me, I like to talk [laughs]. But, on "The Morning Show," we're allowed to bring our friends on with us and have conversations with them and get people on the phone and learn about the lives of people around the world.
We caught up with Duran after his morning radio show last week to talk about his efforts and engagement with LGBT individuals and GLAADhis own personal coming out story, his efforts to evolve alongside talk radio, and the future trajectory of this form of media. You came out on-air in September of The way you chose to do it was fairly understated and in response to a caller on the show. Why did you choose this way to come out? That kind of puts it into perspective.
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I think the bottom line is that our show has been evolving into more of a talk-based show where there is more room for personal opinion and talk about our personal lives. So it just naturally fit it.
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The great thing about it was that there was an underwhelming response. It was just no big deal! They most likely, depending on their family situation, hopefully will be met with the same underwhelming response.
I guess the best way I can put it is, depending on what made that person the celebrity. But, do celebrities owe it to their audience to come out? It depends on how honest they want to be with their audience. But if an actor or actress was proving their point of dating someone of the opposite sex and saying gay people have no right to get married and then we find out that they are gay, well, yeah then I have a major problem with it.
What would you say the show is evolving from? Well, first of all our show used to play more music per hour. The show technically has changed over the years. And we do that because we have to have a potty break [laughs]. The reason why is we know that our audience wants more of a talk and idea, informative show than a music show. If people want music in the morning there are plenty of places to go get it. I guess it boils down to a song count per hour has changed for our show over the years.
GLAAD provided me with a statement about the work that you've done with them. Well, first of all, zero resistance. This really goes back to the cornerstone of our show: Even though we do get sarcastically funny sometimes when it comes to everyone from every walk of life, our show has always been sort of a safe haven for women and gay people.