10 Questions with ... Toby Ryan
November 10, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Since 1995 101X has always been my home.
1. How did you first become interested in radio?
I was one of those strange kids who loved radio. I thought it was actually cool. I listened religiously, mostly to KLOL in Houston. I could tell what time of day it was by who was on the air. As a kid, I would stay up late, sneak out to the phone and make late night requests, mostly for "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.
2. You have been at 101X for almost 20 years, except for a brief hiatus a few years back when you ran for Austin City Council. Tell us about this campaign.
I can tell you these things about my campaign: It was well intentioned with the idea of protecting local music and the venues in the entertainment district before the musicians/venues/and patrons where priced out. It was an ill-fated campaign. Campaigns run on money and not ideas. I was able to raise what I thought was a respectable amount. Close to $19,000. However, the incumbent rose close to $350k. With that sort of discrepancy, good ideas have no place. Fund raising is not my bag. I hate begging for money. Hence, I am not a politician. The system is definitely (and if you ask me, deliberately) broken. I also think that EVERY CITIZEN should be required to run for a public office. It's the only way someone can truly understand. Lastly, no. I will never do it again. I could go on for days... But, I won't.
3. What do you love most about your job at 101X Austin?
I just love radio. Seriously. It's tough to name many cooler jobs. And nowadays, radio nerds like me are a dying breed. Also, I get to do it in Austin, Texas. This city has exploded in the 20 years I've been here and I love it. Some people here complain about the growth and progress. Not me. Bring it on! However, I'm sure that I too will eventually be crushed under the wheel of "progress."
4. What do you remember most about when you first started at 101X?
The thing that stood out the most was how EVERYONE was excited to be a part of the station. From the bottom to the top. A relatively new format just signed on in the growing city of Austin. Every person working at the station was excited for the future. Everyone wanted to bring something to the table. Everyone was willing to do whatever it took to make sure 101x would be successful. As an intern at the station back in '95, it was truly contagious.
5. What are you most proud of over the past 20 years at the station?
Ha! I guess that I even still have a gig.
6. How would you describe yourself as an air personality?
On-air, I'm basically myself. If you've never met me, I guess it could be called highly informative snark. Snark is my first language. English is second.
7. What were your highlights from Austin City Limits this year?
I guess this year my biggest highlight was actually getting to attend the festival. In years past, with just one weekend for the fest, my time was limited. We do a live broadcast from the festival grounds and I was mostly responsible for setting up and executing. It was usually quite stressful and after the broadcast, I just wanted to get away from people. Now that the fest is over two weekends, only one weekend is interview intensive. Also, Lynn has allowed me to delegate a lot of the broadcast to other jocks. Those factors along with new technology really take the stress and workload off of me and I can actually get out seeing some bands perform.
8. What bands blew you away the most at ACL 2015?
It's hard to "blow me away." But, my wife did drag me to see The Weeknd. The music is not my bag of chips, but the show was excellent. Great production, pyro and had the crowd in the palm of his hand. I find it difficult to enjoy shows anymore because I'm always analyzing everything about them. Who is in the crowd? Average age? Does it look like my audience? What is it about the music that they love? However, it's usually an interesting study. My final conclusion of the Weekend? R Kelly + Michael Jackson + Dance beats = The Weeknd. Chicks LOVE the Weeknd!
9. What do you like best about living in Austin?
Austin is still a small town at heart. We are, for the most part, a free thinking progressive city. The city is young and active (not to mention, ATTRACTIVE). There is never a shortage of things to do of great places to eat. But, as you might expect, unprecedented growth in the city has indeed brought traffic and high prices. If I hadn't bought a home seven years ago, I could never afford to live here.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
You know, I really don't have any needful things or terrible vices. I know. Not very rock n roll of me.
What are your hobbies?
Ha! That's funny. Hobbies.... Pshhhhhhhh.
First record ever purchased?
That's a tough one. I was in to music at a very young age. I got a lot of hand me downs from my older brothers. Nothing on vinyl. That was too valuable, mostly 8 tracks. But, I did have some quality stuff. KISS DOUBLE PLATINUM, Michael Jackson Off The Wall, Queens Flash Gordon Soundtrack, and Richard Pryor The Wizard of Comedy. (I was definitely too young for that one. But hey, my parents didn't know. I seem to remember Village People and maybe even some Eddie Rabbit in there too.
The first real concert I was allowed to go to was Guns 'N Roses back in '92, I believe. Soundgarden opened.
Favorite band of all-time?
Again, tough to answer that one. I am a music lover, so it's hard to define. GNR? Queen? Queens Of The Stone Age? Just impossible to answer.