Heart of Steel: Interviews

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 format?

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 time!


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 promotions, etc.


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.

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