Elvis Duran Z100 Elvis Duran and the Morning Show

Moving through my adolescence, medical most of my activities suited a certain daily routine. Every weekday I went to school, page every night watched the same TV shows, otolaryngologist and every morning I and most of the tri-county area woke to the sound of one particular disc jockey and radio host: Elvis Duran. What was then the Z Morning Zoo on 100.3 FM has now become the Z100 Morning Show, stationed out of New York City and broadcasting its sketches, contests, celebrity interviews, and specials nationwide to much more than the east coast. With all of the excitement one has built up before meeting a childhood hero, I made my way to the office of the man whose voice I’d heard on my radio every morning for so many years.

After being welcomed by Elvis’ dedicated and gracious team, I was introduced to the man, himself, and proceeded to pour out to him the questions many dedicated listeners would ask if offered the opportunity.

VF: Elvis Duran. Your name has been stamped forever on the world of radio, and your work on the Z100 Morning Show now reaches a multitude of cities. The show is heard by a wide range of listeners from different parts of the country and all walks of life. How does that make you feel when you think of this achievement? 

Elvis Duran: I was asked this question by someone several weeks ago. I look at it this way- If I wasn’t me, in this position, I would be impressed by what’s going on here. But when you’re in it, and you’re doing it every day- it doesn’t figure in. It’s just something I love to do, and I’m surrounded by people I love. I’m very blessed, and very lucky. For me, it’s just fun work that I love to do every day. When you’re in it, it’s not that impressive.

VF: How did you get your start doing radio? Was this a childhood dream, or something that just came along in time and worked out? 

ED: Ending up in New York wasn’t something that I had imagined for myself, but doing radio was a childhood dream come true. I remember when I got my first radio as a kid, and heard these disc jockeys playing songs and talking about the artists, giving callers prizes and trips, and I thought it was the coolest thing. When you’re reading a book, you have to use your own ‘theater of the mind’ to paint the picture of what they’re [the author] talking about. It’s incredible how DJ’s (between the records) would do these exciting things like race around the world or broadcast live from underwater with sharks swimming around them. It makes you stop and start to paint the picture in your mind of ‘where are they?’ or ‘what does that look like?’ I always thought that was cool and was seduced by radio from an early age.

VF: You’ve been in radio and broadcasting for a long time. How do you feel about the changes technology has brought to radio? 

ED: I love how technology has totally changed what we do for a living. In the old days, you’d walk into a studio for a few hours, play music, take a few phone calls and leave. Now we have camera shots that we’re setting up for an interview with a superstar, and we have questions coming in on Twitter, and emails, and we can take the show outside of the studio. I love what technology does for us every day.

Not only is it the technical end of how we deliver our show, but also how we communicate with our listeners. When I first started, we had a request line and that was the only connection we had with listeners. Now, the pipeline is open to everyone. We are so accessible, and the great thing about radio is that we’re live! You can text your favorite TV show, and they may mention your text in three weeks, but we talk about them as they come in. It’s unheard of in any other mass media. We embrace technology and manipulate it as much as we can.

VF: Your life has been an open book on the radio, and in time you’ve opened up more and more about your life outside of the studio. Has your work affected your personal life?

ED: It has. Because of being on the internet and having our pictures out there, people see what we look like, and it has changed. Being recognized in public – I like it. I can touch someone and shake their hand, and meet people who hear our show. Being in radio is a microscopic sample of what real celebrities go through. I don’t know how they do it, because I’m sure it gets to be a crazy life. We get a small taste of that, and it’s no problem at all. We want to stop and say hello to people who support us. Radio brings a whole different relationship than Rihanna has with her followers, or what Ryan Reynolds has with his fans, because we are such a daily part of routine, just like brushing your teeth. People listen to us at the same time every day. We’re more of a family member than we are a celebrity.

VF: You don’t really get to hear as much from celebrities, either. Waking up to your show on the morning and hearing what you all have to say every day helps listeners and fans get to know you better.

ED: Yeah, so the question is, what would Ryan Reynolds say for four hours on the radio every day? He might be the most interesting guy in the world, but you’ll never know that. Just through his short interviews you get to know little bits about him, and even then it’s very controlled. We have to fill up four hours a day, so we talk about everything. I talk about my personal life now more than ever, and I find it very liberating. I talk about my relationship, but there’s an end to it. You just talk about the things that you find are interesting. Every day we have material from writers, but the most interesting thing is when all of the members of our show come in and talk about what happened to them over their weekend. It’s real and it’s relatable, it’s sort of a family meeting every morning, not only for us but for the people who participate and listen. 

VF: Z100’s Morning Show has a huge community and conversation going on between listener and host, with real conversations happening in real time that people seem to thrive on. 

ED: We try to keep things as real as we can. It’s easy, because I don’t think we know how to do anything other than that! If someone asked us to get on the air and pretend to have visited a store for an ad or commercial, we couldn’t do it. It’s just impossible.

VF: So once you leave work, what does the rest of your day look like? 

ED: Well, we’ll sneak away and have a three bottle of wine lunch, or today I’ll go work out, and some days just go home and crash. Then you wake up and just start watching TV and reading emails, all to get ready for the next show. I wash dishes- it’s not a very glamorous life. I don’t know where all the hours go. Because of this question I’m gonna start monitoring what I do when I leave here, because I don’t know!

VF: Well your webpage’s bio says you are “a person who loves traveling and enjoys great movies, books, wines and restaurants.” Has your career allowed you to do a lot of traveling? Where do you enjoy going?

ED: I just like to get on a plane and go. We [the Morning Show] were originally just New York, and when we first signed on to do Y100 in Miami, that’s when I really started getting used to being on a plane a lot. I never understood how business people did it (traveling so much) but I loved it. It’s so good to get away. I have a house out in New Mexico and it’s great to go there, especially when New York gets so cold. I travel to the West Coast a little bit. I find that I’m just working to get to the next vacation, because those are the trips I treasure. Just going away and relaxing, far away. 

VF: Not only do you get to travel, but you frequently are able to meet and have celebrities on the show. Do you have any favorites who have visited? 

ED: Lady Gaga is my favorite, without a doubt. It could be because she grew up listening to us, and she’s a New Yorker. There’s something kind of cool about that, because someone of her stature and her magnitude, when they walk through the door and are excited to meet you, we think, “really? It’s just us!” Justin Bieber has turned out to be the biggest surprise (in spite of all the Bieber-bashing) because he is such a cool guy. He’s a lot of fun and has a huge heart. He’s very philanthropic and spiritual. We also had Daniel Radcliffe, and he’s just a great guy. You’re so used to seeing him as Harry Potter, and then you wonder what else there is to this person. He was just a very nice guy, and we were more in awe of his ‘awesomeness’ than his acting ability and his list of credentials. The best interview is someone who can merge into what we do, rather than us merge into them. It’s more fun for the person you’re interviewing and your listeners. 

Elvis Duran and Justin Bieber, photo credit: ElvisDuran.com

VF: Do you have any celeb-interview disaster stories? 

ED: Usher. We could not get him off the air fast enough. I don’t want to bash people, but the listeners were texting in because he was just a little belligerent, and self important. I’ll just leave it with Usher. He’s an extremely talented guy, and he came out with one of the best albums of that year, so I must be equally in support of him- as well as bashing him.

VF: For all of us who grew up with you and the Morning Show, and may not be able to listen anymore, it’s great to get to know more about you. For your fashion loving listeners- who is your favorite designer? 

ED: When it comes to men’s suits I like Zegna, but I don’t wear a lot of suits. I’m shoes. I bought my first Jimmy Choo‘s this past weekend.

VF: What’s your favorite pair? 

ED: I love my Converse. Those are my favorites. They come in all colors and they’re so versatile. I also have Balenciaga deck shoes, purple suede. They’re so cool!

VF: Besides your wallet and your phone, what’s the one thing that you won’t leave the house without? 

ED: My underwear. You must have underwear on at all times. And my Bobbi Brown bronzer. If we know a camera’s around, or I’m going out, I’ll use my Bobbi Brown bronzer. I’m Scottish, I’m very pale. [Bobbi Brown] She’s my hero.

VF: What other projects are you involved in outside of your work?

ED: The Staten Island Zoo has been in Barret Park in Staten Island since the ’30s, and they were desperately in need of help. I really wanted to try to get involved, so this is going on my second year of being a contributor to the zoo and a supporter. Now they’re in growth mode and bringing in new animals because of what we’re doing. Another organization I’m on the board of is Rosie’s Theater Kids. It takes school kids from all ages in the school system in at-risk situations in their neighborhoods, exposes them to the Arts that are unique to New York City. There are after-school programs, as well as in-school programs. Not only do they tutor kids, but what’s amazing is that they get them interested in the Arts, like Broadway and musicals.

Rock and Rawhide is another project I work with. We went into the kill shelters in New York City and discovered that the noise levels inside were driving the animals insane. They were becoming un-adoptable. We’ve found that as we give the animals chew toys and things to play with, that the noise levels have gone down and made the animals more friendly, and we’ve seen more adoptions since we started. The Night of A Thousand Gowns is another event I support that has become huge, and it’s a fundraiser for LGBT Youth.

VF: Will you always stay in radio? Is there another vocation that you’d be interested in working in if ever offered the opportunity?

ED: I really don’t have any other opportunities, thank God for this job! I know there’s a commitment to be here for at least 5 more years. Beyond this- I’m not quite sure. I’m not the kind of person who sets goals and has a 5, 10, and 15 year plan. I just sort of go and wherever the winds blow me, that’s where I end up. TV looks fun, actually. If a great opportunity came up, and I knew there was some chance of success, I’d be willing to do that. It looks like it could be fun. For now, this is where it’s at for us. 

For more information on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,
check out his website at http://www.elvisduran.com/main.html

 


Steve Fanuka, <a href=try Million Dollar Contractor. Viral Fashion Spotlight” width=”300″ height=”217″ />
Contracting is a difficult job, and a contractor must be able to handle the stress and pressure
of connecting different designers with clients who want the best for their homes and spaces. Celebrity contractor, DIY Network Reality Star, and new author, Steve Fanuka, has managed to make his mark in the world of home improvement with charisma, humor, unprecedented skill, and most importantly, dedication to outdoing “the best.”

Viral Fashion- “Contractor to the Stars.” Not only is that your job, it’s what you’re known for, and it seems like you enjoy it. You got your start as a cabinetmaker with your father. Without his leading, do you think you would have chosen the same career path?

Steve Fanuka Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, my father made me go to work with him. At the age of 12, he started taking me. I had no choice. Everyone would play during the summer and I went to work Monday through Friday, but then I started to really like it. I did go into advertising for a few years, to see if I really wanted to do what I was doing with my dad. Then I decided in advertising that I may have hit my niche. So I went back [to cabinetmaking] and expanded the whole business, and became a contractor.

VF Your job has brought you from cabinetry to linking stars like Beyonce, Lindsay Lohan, and Tony Bennet with top interior designers and architects. How do you select which team to bring into a project?

Steve It’s almost like being a matchmaker. There’s a lot of psychology involved in any business that you do. You have to read people, and you have to figure out who’s going to match your client’s personality. If you don’t get that match right, you’ve got a really bad job ahead of you. If you get that right you’ve got a good job going. If you get it wrong and you don’t pay attention, you just may have created a time bomb.

Steve Fanuka, Million Dollar Contractor. Viral Fashion Spotlight

VF Your TV Show on the DIY Network, “Million Dollar Contractor,” started airing this past October. How has it impacted your career thus far?

Steve It’s the number one show on the Network and it’s only been four weeks. It’s got a little bit of BRAVO, a little of DIY, a little of Home Improvement, it’s got a little bit of everything. I call it “Spicy Chili.” It’s got a lot of different spices in it. It’s got a lot of different characters in it and not just me telling you how we’re gonna lay pipe. That’s been done before. This is really my world, the jobs are my jobs. You have to put full effort into it otherwise its just garbage.

VF How many projects do you take on at once? Is there a maximum? Will you turn anyone down?

Steve I don’t advertise. It’s all word of mouth. You can’t take on more than you can chew. We usually handle up to 10-15 projects at a time. I have about 30 people that work under me and we have about 300 trades that work with us full time through other companies. We can handle a decent amount of work but when it becomes to busy, I won’t take work. You could offer me a 500 million dollar job, but if I don’t have time for it, I won’t take it. People ask me to build things all over the world, but I don’t take them because I can’t get there. I can’t go there two or three times a week. I’m not gonna go once a month to go see your house being built in France. I don’t feel like I have my eye on it, and I don’t feel like my name’s on it, so I’m not gonna go. I won’t do it.

 

VFMicromanaging is very important for someone who wants to keep the integrity of their name.

Steve Yeah. You can make a great product, but people will remember how they got it, how long it took…The product is maybe the end to the means. But there are a lot of “means” before you get to the end. The end product is supposed to be beautiful, and that’s part of the show…of life. How did I present it to you? There’s a lot involved in getting out a good product.

VFYou’ve said that it’s impossible not to think about the job once you leave. You’ll still be thinking about it past 5 p.m.

Steve You can’t push it out of your mind. It’ll never go. It’s like a drug. It’s just always gonna be there and you’ll be thinking about it. When you’re addicted to something you love, you’re just constantly going to think about it. When it’s in your blood and you want it to ooze out of you with passion, its impossible to push it from your mind. Whatever you do, if you have the passion, you’re going to constantly bleed it out of you.

VF Besides your work, do you have other hobbies?

Steve I love to draw. I love to play the guitar, but I suck at it. I got a Gibson SG, I got a Fender, a few acoustics, but I suck at it. My guitar teacher literally got up one day and said ‘I quit.’ Whatever I do, it has to be something that’s going to allow me to literally forget for a few minutes whatever I’m thinking of. When you’re playing the guitar, you can’t be thinking of sheet rock. Those two things grab me. I like to make people laugh.

Steve Fanuka, Million Dollar Contractor. Viral Fashion Spotlight

VF So is a stand up comedy show next for you?

Steve I could. I think I could have been a comedian. It comes out of me quite naturally. I would stand on a corner and just make people laugh- with the guitar in my hand. I don’t think I’d make any money. You never know!

VF If that ever happens, we will have to be on that story! Viral Fashion is a fashion magazine, so I have to ask- have you done any jobs for fashion designers?

Steve- I have done work for some top designers, but let me say fashion and interior design are very similar. What you guys do and what I do are totally the same thing. It’s thinking outside the box. Viral Fashion and Fanuka Inc.- it’s our responsibility to create new things so everyone else can take it home with them. As long as we can continue to do what we’re doing we’ll always be in the forefront, and that’s the key to success. There’s no such thing as “the best,” and no one can say you are and truly prove it. The only way you can prove it is by going outside the box, thinking outside the box, and always setting the bar higher. We only have touched the surface. There’s still so much more to do out there. I look forward to setting the bar a little higher.

VF What’s your dream project?

Steve I’m doing it right now, a listening room. Bulletproof glass floors, audio equipment, soundproofing. I had engineers come in to modify the electricity, and brought in central air just to cool the amplifiers. The furniture plan, is one chair. That’s hot. One chair, not even two- one. We brought people in from all over the world to test and design the equipment. It will be the best listening room in the world, and you will see that on my show. We’re building a two story glass house on top of a penthouse. That’s a cool job.

Steve Fanuka, Million Dollar Contractor. Viral Fashion Spotlight

VF One last question-what would you want to say, that you don’t get to, because people don’t ask you?

Steve What would I want to be asked? I’ve been asked so many questions. I guess, if I was gona be any- of all the celebrities I’ve ever worked for (and I’ve worked for dozens) which celebrity would I wanna be?

VFWhich one?

Steve Tony Bennet. He’s classy, he has spunk and charm. Now he’s an artist and he makes a good living off of it. He wasn’t just a bottle rocket that went off in the air and died. He’s been around for 60 years and kept the torch running. I don’t want to come out into the crowd and six months later be a flash that’s gone. I want to have a career like Tony Bennet, I want to come out under the radar, let people start to notice me, little by little people are gonna go, “Hey, did you see that show Million Dollar Contractor?” I want it to start off nice and slow like a plant. The plants that start off slow branch out for hundreds of years. I want to come out slow, and go out hard, and last. 60 years later, Tony Bennet is still as popular as he was 60 years ago.

VF And that’s what you’ll do.

Steve I just want to take my little branch of life and make it a little brighter. I’m not gonna brighten the room or the world, but I’d like to brighten the industry I’m in. If I can make it a little bit better, I’ve succeeded. I’m never gona be a sex symbol, I’m gona be a home improvement guy.

VF Until you get that music career…

Steve Until I learn to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Steve Fanuka, Million Dollar Contractor. Viral Fashion Spotlight

For more on Steve Fanuka, visit his website at: Fanuka Inc.

 

written by Rachel Margaritis