On air and on campus: Radio’s Greg T talks ‘Morning Show’ and FDU
Above left, “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” hosts Garrett Vogel, Greg T and Skeery Jones on stage at Madison Square Garden for a concert. Above right, Greg T with singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran in the Morning Show studios in 2017. (Photos courtesy of Greg T)
By Dan Landau
Turn on the radio in the morning in any major city in the United States, and there’s a pretty good chance of hearing the voice of Greg T coming through the speakers. A founding member of the nationally-syndicated program Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, Greg “Greg T” Tyndorf, BA’ 96, is also an alumnus of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Since he started with Duran in 1996, Tyndorf has become a key member of the on-air team and plays a role that he describes as being like “Kramer of Seinfeld, or Joey of Friends.” The brains behind the popular “Topic Train” show segment, he’s a bit of a beloved goofball, performing funny stunts in the streets of New York or in the studio.
He’s also travelled throughout the New York-area and the world for the show, covering President Bill Clinton’s visit to FDU, the 2000 Olympics in Australia and the 2004 Olympics in Greece.
He started out at FDU, where he majored in communications at the Metropolitan Campus and learned about broadcasting, first on FDU’s now-defunct AM station and then on 89.1 WFDU-FM.
“I always wanted to be on the radio,” he says. “Most people I knew weren’t interested in radio, but I didn’t let that stop me. Radio called to me. I started taking Duff Sheffield’s classes and when he thought I was ready, I started taking shifts at the FM station.”
Sheffield, now general manager of WFDU, remembers Tyndorf well, saying, “He was in my class for several semesters and he was the most energetic student. I used to watch him and marvel at the amount of energy he exuded when he was on the radio. He was a ball of energy.”
Besides learning the basics of working in radio, Tyndorf also picked up his original radio moniker at FDU. “Everyone I knew called me ‘T’ and I was in the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, so I became ‘Greg T the Fratboy.’ I’m too old to be a frat boy now, so I just go by ‘Greg T,’” he says.
While he was at FDU, Tyndorf started at the New York station Z100, where he still broadcasts from today.
“I really and truly got lucky,” he says when he tells his story about how he springboarded from FDU into a career in radio:
“A friend asked me for a ride to an interview at Z100 because I had a car on campus. He got a phone operator position and a few days later, I got a call in my dorm from my friend and his boss. He said, ‘Your friend speaks highly of you and I need one more guy. Want to come in for an interview?’ I said I wasn’t interested and I wanted to focus on college but they were practically begging to give me a job. I took the job and said I liked to work mornings.
“This was 1996 when I started and Z100 was in a time of transition. Elvis Duran took over the morning show at that time and brought me, Danielle Monaro and Skeery Jones on full time. We were all getting out of college that year. I was going to market the new morning show and be their eyes and ears on the street. There wasn’t a diner in the area I didn’t buy someone breakfast at or high school pep rally I didn’t go to. Eventually, I was elevated to a bigger role in the show,” continues Tyndorf.
Greg T’s advice for interns: “We have a ton of interns who come through our doors every semester and we know who will sink or swim. The ones who succeed are the ones who understand that college is only for a few years and that they need to work hard during those years to have a life after college.” Above right: Greg T and the crowd at a charity event.
Now, instead of marketing the show, Tyndorf is one of the hosts for the show. “I try to be funny and I do a lot of silly games and stunts for the show,” he says.
Those stunts range from eating gross things to walking on coals, to duct taping himself to a stoplight pole and infamously, trespassing at Martha Stewart’s Connecticut home. Those last two exploits each got Tyndorf arrested — two of the four times he’s been arrested for doing stunts on the show. “The Morning Show puts me in these bad situations,” he says. “I have a lot to explain to my kids.”
One of the funnier hijinks Tyndorf pulled was the time he tested out the longevity of wheels on an office chair. “There was a note on it saying it stood up to 15 miles of rolling, so we put that to the test. They dragged me behind a car. The chair didn’t last 15 miles! It fell apart quickly—from five wheels to four to three to just the post and then just the chair. We won an award for funniest minute in New York radio for that,” he says.
Besides these antics, he’s also behind the Tuesday/Friday segment “Topic Train,” where listeners can call in to talk about the day’s topics. A popular segment today, it was born by accident one day when Duran was frustrated with Tyndorf’s ideas.
“At the time, the Morning Show was covering dating issues more and there weren’t these lifestyle topics,” says Tyndorf. “I kept giving Elvis ideas for topics and he kept saying ‘No.’ I kept them in a folder and finally he said, ‘Give them all to me. I want every single one of them.’ I gave him 30-40 topics and he made a big bit about them saying, ‘Here’s what I have to deal with everyday — Greg T comes up with these ideas that he wants to talk about on the air.’ He was making fun of my ideas about campfires and Old Navy sales and such, when all of a sudden, the phones lit up. After the show, Elvis told me to give him ten topics every week and he’d call it the ‘Topic Train.’”
The picture wasn’t always so great for Tyndorf though. “Like many people, I grew up with some turmoil in my family and I didn’t have a lot of direction. I had gotten myself into a situation where I needed to start over and FDU was the only college that would open their doors to me,” he says.
Now entering his third decade with the Morning Show, Tyndorf reflects, “FDU was a breath of fresh air for me,” says Tyndorf. “If it wasn’t for FDU’s radio stations, I wouldn’t have gotten my start in radio.”
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