Elvis Duran, the man (and the voice) behind the nationally syndicated Z100 radio program Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, says has one great secret for waking up day after day to talk to his audience of 10 million weekly listeners.
“I just always assume no one is listening,” he says with laugh.
He couldn’t be more wrong. On April 9, after 30 years as a radio host — and 22 years of hosting the Morning Show (which is syndicated in 80 markets) — Duran was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, joining some of his own personal heroes.
“To be included with guys like Wolfman Jack or Casey Kasem and other guys I grew up listening to? It’s incredible,” says Duran of receiving the honor.
But Duran’s work doesn’t stop at joking around behind the mic in the morning. He’s also long been an activist and philanthropist, supporting LGBTQ rights, and other causes that fight poverty and hunger. This September he’s putting together a music event at Radio City Music Hall on behalf of Donor’s Choose, an organization that gives money to teachers who have to buy school supplies for their students.
He’s also stepped in front of the mic in recent years, doing the red carpet for the iHeart Music Awards and hosting the annual Jingle Ball in New York City, and he hosts a monthly segment on Kathie Lee and Hoda called “Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month,” where he showcases an up-and-coming singer. (Alessia Cara, Daya and Tori Kelly all got their big breaks being one of his hand-picked artists of the month on the segment.)
As someone who’s given hundreds of new artists their first radio spin, many musicians who have been on his show now consider him a friend.
“Elvis is the only person that can create a magical interview with these artists,” says his publicist Steven Levine. “When they’re with Elvis, they’re friends and immediately disarmed, and they wind up having one of the best experiences. Which is why they keep coming back.”
Among some of his regular pals and visitors: Chris Martin, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
“I love Justin Bieber,” Duran told PEOPLE, when asked about some of the artists he loves to interview. “There are times where people only report negative things about him, but everyone forgets how incredibly talented he really is.”