Industry Profile - WNEW's Eddie Trunk: Heavy Metal
DJ Talks about the Radio Business
Interview by Keith McDonald
New York is one of the biggest, if not the biggest market in the
world. Yet, the only music that seems to get played on New York radios
is rap, hip-hop and rap/metal or whatever happens to be the flavor of
the month. Radio is probably the hardest nut to crack in the music
circle. But now WNEW in New York City has a new late night show hosted
by Eddie Trunk called Saturday Night Rocks that has been gaining
momentum and listeners. The talk-radio station has allowed Eddie full
reign on what he wants to play. And he has taken full advantage of this
opportunity to play the best of 70's, 80's and today's hard rock and
heavy metal. Spinning everything from Anthrax, Badlands, Deep Purple to
Motley Crue and newer bands like Injected. He also plays obscure tracks
that mainstream radio has played to death. The show has done so well
that it has expanded to Friday nights as well. I had the opportunity to
speak with Eddie who filled me in on what's been going on with the show.
You can check out his website at www.eddietrunk.com.
How did you get started in the music business?
Started as a writer, then did college radio while in high school in
the early 80's. Also worked in a record store, was VP of Megaforce
Records, and did radio in NJ and NYC since 1984. Also did artist
management, so I always tried to have experience in many areas.
How did Saturday Night Rocks start?
I was doing metal specialty shows at a smaller NJ station for 10
years and begged my PD when I got to New York to give me a shot at my
own show. The success was huge, and it was the only music show the
station kept after they changed formats to talk 2 years ago!
Is the show available via the Internet?
No, the company that owns WNEW won't allow it, however the show goes
national March 23rd, and will stream at that time on www.EddieTrunk.com
Tell me about your website?
It was developed by a listener Jonathan Widro. I'm not a big computer
guy. He's done a great job. The idea of the site was that I wanted it to
still be interesting to those who can't hear the show. It has become a
huge hard rock resource center. Mike Piazza has been in the chat room
and Paul Stanley recently told me he checks it out!
How did the NY Steel show do? How did that come about?
I had the idea to do a benefit with a band that Mike Piazza was going
to play in. When 9/11 hit, Mike offered to co-host (since he often does
on the radio) and I put the bill together and organized it. Once I
talked Twisted Sister into getting back together, everything else fell
into place. It was a huge success.
What type of bands does the show play?
Deep tracks from classic hard rock and metal bands, never the hits.
Also a couple new songs an hour. Anything from the 70's through today
that rocks hard, but I do not play rap metal or real modern sounding
stuff. Doesn't go over with my crowd, they want Maiden and Sabbath. In
NYC there is no other place for what I play!
Are you allowed to play any band that you want or is there a set
I have complete control over everything on the shows.
Do you play unsigned artists? If so, how would a band get airplay?
Yes, see "SNR/A&R" on www.eddietrunk.com
What has been your best experience since the show began?
Having Gene Simmons in studio twice and doing in depth interviews.
Kiss was always my favorite band, so it was cool. NY Steel was the
biggest event I've ever pulled off, and I'm very proud of the metal
community and support. 4000 people, beyond sold out. Just incredible
vibe that night. Also having a major star like Mike Piazza as a friend,
fan, and co-host has taken the show to a whole new level.
Why do you think there are so few shows like SNR?
It's considered to be a niche show. Huge commercial stations want
mainstream, safe, shows because of competition. They just don't feel
there is enough audience and they are wrong. SNR is for the real music
fan, while mainstream radio is not. They want the everyday listener who
still gets excited to hear You Shook Me All Night Long for the billionth
Are the labels supportive of the bands you play?
I've been very disappointed in the label support for the radio shows.
I'm doing 2 nights a week in the countries number one market, and I get
very little from labels. It's mostly because of politics in the market.
It's a shame because I have the tri-state areas rock crowd in my back
pocket, but most labels have no balls, so they lose. Some labels have
been great, but most have done nothing with me in four years in terms of
What do you see ahead for SNR?
Last September I launched a second night of the show on Friday's at
11, so we now have 2 nights a week, which is huge. Starting March 23rd I
will have a national version of the show that will be syndicated. All
info is on my site.