LGBT History Month: Elvis Duran
|Written by Ian Maloney on October 24 2012|
In 2010, on his popular, nationally syndicated, morning radio show, host Elvis Duran came out of the closet as a gay man, to surprisingly little fan fare. The McKinney, Texas native made a quick decision to out himself because of homophobic comments made on the air. After the incident, in an interview with NY1, he said: "I never really opened up about my life on the show that much. I thought it was more interesting for me to be more of a mystery. Then one day, I realized I have things to say about my life too, especially being a gay man in mass media," says Duran. "I never was closeted on the air. I never, ever said I wasn't gay. I never brought it to the forefront. Thing is, I was always afraid it would turn into the 'Elvis Duran Is Gay' show."
Before gaining popularity as a morning drive host, Duran spent years working his way up in the world of radio. After dropping out of college, he pursued his lifelong dream of being on the radio. Although it’s not easy to get your foot in the door in the radio business, in Duran’s case, persistence paid off, eventually to the tune of millions of dollars. He started hanging around the local radio station, and was able to score an on air gig. The rest, as they say, is history. After DJ’ing and programming stints in Philadelphia, Austin, Atlanta, and Houston, Duran was hired as the afternoon host on NYC’s Z100, a station with one of the largest audiences in the world. Luckily, for those who can’t imagine their morning without a little Elvis, he was not destined for the afternoon drive slot. In 1996, Duran got his shot at hosting the Morning Zoo, Z100’s morning show. Along with a cast of zany characters, Elvis has been the morning voice of NYC ever since, his show consistently places in the top of the ratings battles in its market.
After 8 years on the air in New York City, the Elvis Duran Show was picked up in suburban New Jersey, and eventually syndicated across the country. The second market to pick up the show was South Florida, where he can be heard on Y100, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale’s version of Z100 in New York. Just like in the Big Apple, the show was a hit, and is a top rated morning show in the Florida market. Since getting a syndication deal with Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of radio giant Clear Channel, The Elvis Duran Morning Show has been simulcast to over 40 markets across the US.
After leaving the closet behind, Duran began to focus part of his life on charity work that would benefit young LGBT people. He has worked with GLAAD and Rosie O’Donnell‘s charity Rosie’s Theatre Kids. When asked in an interview with GLAAD if he had any advice for youngsters dealing with coming out of the closet and being gay he said: “being gay doesn’t wholly define who you are. It’ll be easier to work through that struggle if you let yourself off the hook and realize you have MANY reasons to celebrate being you and being gay is one of them. Do everything possible to surround yourself with positive people who love you for you.”