9/11 Stories: Elvis Duran


The day before September 11th, Elvis Duran (who has now hosted the morning show at Z100 for 25 years) attended a big radio station pow-wow. They discussed ratings, research, and the very future of the Z100. Elvis walked out of that meeting thinking, “I don’t understand this business anymore. I’m going on the air, talking about insignificant things”. Elvis Duran was seriously contemplating leaving radio on September 10th. September 11th showed him why radio was so important and why his role was so pivotal. Elvis Duran remembers the morning of September 11, the big topic of discussion on-air was whether you were cheating on your partner if you joined a chat room and talked with someone other than your significant other. Suddenly, the phone producer came in, alerting the 10-15 member morning crew that a helicopter has hit The World Trade Center. Minutes later: no, it was a plane. Then came the word: it was a commercial jet. Z100’s studios were then in Jersey City, directly across from Lower Manhattan and The World Trade Center. Everyone watched in horror as the second plane hit the South Tower. Elvis remembers his longtime co-host, Danielle Monaro, falling to her knees crying. Realizing we were under attack, Elvis Duran quickly decided, “No one wants to hear us right now”. Z100 played the audio from local channel 5. The next morning, September 12, Elvis was still unsure what the morning show’s role should be. It was 5:50 A.M. The show begins at 6 AM. Elvis walked into the dark studio and saw all 20 phone lines were flashing. In an instant, he knew what to do. He turned off the audio from Channel 5, put on his headphones, and answered one of the flashing phone lines, putting the caller on-air: “Good morning! Z100. Who’s this?” Elvis knew his purpose, radio’s purpose. Radio is there to serve the public.


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