Today March 7th DJ Eclipse celebrates the 14th year anniversary of the “Halftime Radio Show” on WNYU 89.1 FM in New York City. Eclipse is a triple O.G., when it comes to the indie Hip Hop scene in NYC. He’s produced records, held down several radio shows, managed Fat Beats ny retail location, traveled the world as the tour DJ for Non-Phixion, etc., etc., etc…
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a guest on the Halftime show in the past, as well as a regular listener. I recently got the chance to catch up with DJ Eclipse to talk everything Halftime Radio. Check it out…
TKE: First off thanks for taking the time to speak with us. This wednesday you will celebrating your 14 year anniversary of the Halftime Radio show on WNYU in New York City. After 14 years on the show in the mecca of Indie Hip Hop is there anyone you haven’t had the chance to interview? Also who was the very artist you interviewed on the show?
DJ Eclipse: There’s a few legends that I would still like to have through the show like Rakim, Kane, Jay…that may be about it. Never had B.I.G. or Pun through. First guests we had on the show was Natural Elements. They were always a staple on WNYU even before our show started.
If you had to pick one DJ who hasn’t been on the show before to spin a guest set, who would it be?
Hmm, probably Jazzy Jeff. I think I’ve had everyone else alive up there at some point. Jeff may be the last one I need up there.
Every time I hear the name “Halftime Radio” I automatically think of Nas’ song “Halftime.” How did the name Halftime Radio come into existence, and what’s the meaning of the name too you?
I came up with the name for two reasons. Well 3. First, at the time there was the Night Train show on 89.9 on Tuesdays with Eli, Vaz, Kinetic, Apex and them and then you had Stretch/Bob on Thursday nights. So our show fell right in between those two shows. Halftime. 2nd, Riz is probably the biggest football fan alive. So it also made sense there. Lastly the Nas joint always came to mind when thinking of the first two things. That’s why we ended up using it as the intro to the show.
Once upon a time records were worked by promoters to win over your ears. With vinyl and singles not being pressed and distributed and the popularity of the Internet, how has this changed how you receive new music? Was it easier to listen to a pile a 12 inches vs. an e-mail inbox full of MP3′s?
It was WAY more easier to sift through records prior to the internet. You had a limited amount of vinyl that was out from week to week so you were able to a) listen to everything and b) play songs more then once. Nowadays there are just too many mp3s from week to week to sift through. Aside from what gets emailed to me I scan the web to see what’s out there. My “listen to” folder usually has around 60 joints each week that I have to go through. It’s damn near impossible to listen to all that. And when I do and find a lot of good stuff, it’s hard to give it any rotation cause next week I’ve got another 50 songs to go through. I try to give everyone a chance if I like the record. Ones I like more are the ones that usually get a few spins.
What’s the best way for a new artist to get your attention and submit music for the show? What’s the easiest way for an artist to piss you off and not get their music played?
Emailing me is the best way to get me music. Again, I get a ton of music submitted so artists have to be patient for me to listen to everything. It could take me a month or so to listen to things. Another way to catch my attention is for the artist to build a buzz on their own. If someone is good you tend to hear about them through other people/networks. If I get 60 songs, chances are I’m going to start with artists I already know are going to deliver something dope. Or an artist that I’ve been hearing about. As far as pissing me off, I can’t really recall any artist stepping to me sideways or anything to make me not want
to play their record. If a record is good TO ME then I play it. Easy as that.
What guests have been featured on the show in the past 14 years that you felt were destined to do big things in the world of Hip Hop? And the flip side of that, is there anybody who came on the show who you thought wouldn’t last, that went on do big things?
After doing this for so long you kind of seen it all, you know? So it’s hard to pick out who’s gonna pop. Especially when the music that we like usually goes against the grain of what works in the mainstream. BUT, I wouldn’t have guessed that 50 Cent and Kanye would have went on to be as big as they are now. Eminem too. Not to say that I thought any of them would flop, but to me they were just as good or the same as other acts that were coming through. Sometimes you just need a good co-sign or story to help get you to where you need to be. If it was just about talent then a lot more of my guests would be
Who taught you how to work the boards at the radio station? Was radio broadcasting something you were looking to get into, or did you just fall into it?
Radio was never something I sought to get into. I wanted to be a DJ and expose people to good music, but I was thinking on a street level. Make tapes, do parties, DJ for acts, etc. Even when I got my first opportunity to do radio back in like 88/89 down in SC, I never really appreciated what I was doing. I just looked at it as another outlet to get my name out as well as new music. It wasn’t until I got to NY in the early 90s that I started hanging out with Riz and going up to his show on BAU and then him taking me up to Stretch & Bob that I started getting the itch to be on radio. I guess it was because there
was an actual scene happening and I definitely wanted to be part of it. So working the boards is something that you pick up on the job. Plus it’s not too different then a mixer that a DJ would use with his turntables anyway.
Salute on delivering quality Hip Hop over the airwaves for the past 14 years. You’ve developed an outstanding “Halftime Crew” from DJ Skizz, Petey Cologne, crazy guest co-hosts like D-Stroy, etc. What’s the next move for Halftime Radio? That 15 year anniversary is right around the corner as well, what type of madness can we expect for the milestone?
Believe it or not we are actually planning the 15th anniversary now. I want to keep it in the tradition of what we’ve been doing for the anniversaries, but step it up a bit and expand a little outside of our comfort zone. We’re shooting some ideas around. It’s definitely going to be some big names though. We went pretty hard for our 10 year. Gotta top that one.
Thanks to DJ Eclipse for his time. Make sure you check out the 14th Year Anniversary Show tonight. If your not in NYC you can check out the show online at www.wnyu.org 10:30pm-1:00am