10 Questions with ... Shaun Ridder
April 15, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out working part-time at WIXX-FM in Green Bay then added WXSS-FM Milwaukee. First full-time gig was in Lacrosse, WI at WIZM-FM. I worked all 3 at one point. I was on the air 7 days a week sometimes even twice a day in 2 different cities. NO VT'ing!
After a few months and few thousand miles on the car, WIXX called and brought me "back home" full time.
After being back with WIXX for 6 months I was offered a shot to go Country and join powerhouse WNCY-FM as APD and night dude.
After 4 years at WNCY, I was tossed out and WXMM came calling! I also did stints on iPartyRadio.com as well as 90'sAndNow.com
1) Congrats on the new gig at WXMM! Since the station just launched in September I am sure there are a lot of things in the works. Tell us what you are most excited about there!
I just love being able to be a part of something "new." I've only ever worked for established or heritage stations. All were always the top dog in town. Now I'm at the new unknown underdog, trying to build it from the ground up.
I really like being able to program a station at the cutting edge of the format. Young and new Country is where I think the format is headed and we're right there.
2) What sort of sound can we expect from WXMM? How do you plan to make it stand out in the Green Bay market?
Young, hip, the pulse of what's hot in pop culture and new Country. Think about what you would consider the superstar artists today, and I don't mean this year I mean like right here in moment. That's who we want to be playing right now. Nothing on our station is older than 10 years old and 70% of our music is from the last 4 years.
I love Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks, but their music just sounds sooo much different than the music of the last 1/2 decade. No format is out of the question either. If it fits the sound of the station we're gonna play it.
3) How did you get your first gig at WIXX and what was the biggest thing you learned there?
Funny story, I'm the captain of the "You won't use your college degree in a career club." While in college for Law Enforcement I hung out with all the guys that worked at WIXX because one of my high school buddies worked there.
One day the idea was tossed out "We need another part-timer; you should work for us running board or something." All I thought was, "someone's gonna pay me to watch a computer run while I surf MySpace and do homework?" (P.S. yes I did say MySpace, it was once cool.)
Eventually I tried out being on the air and loved it. I then began doing everything I could for the station taking any chance I could to get on the air or just be around. If they'd have asked me to take out the trash and scrub the toilets I would have.
The biggest thing I took from that experience was that super hard work and always being available when someone needs you shows your dedication. They will remember it.
4) Who are 3 people that have been mentors to you, inside or outside of the industry?
When I was young it was Jason Hillery. That guy has his hands in so many projects and still manages to program killer radio stations. He hired me and worked with me to make me into a useable on air talent. I listened to old airchecks and don't know how he didn't just give up on me.
One of my biggest mentors is Kenny Jay at WUBB in Savannah. We met working for Midwest Family in Lacrosse. He was Country, I was CHR. He was instrumental in my transition from CHR to Country. He's more than just a guy I know; he's become a great friend that is always there to help me out. Even if it's just to talk about how things are going. Some of the best advice and ideas have come from Kenny. His situation at WUBB was a lot like mine is now, so continual brain picking will be ongoing.
I was also extremely lucky to have worked with Lori Lewis (Jacobs Media) while I was at Midwest Communications. I always thought I was a social media buff, but she taught me new things and showed me how to make social media just as big a part of what you do as programming the music is. Social media isn't just posting some words on Facebook, there's tactics to it. If you ever get a chance to go see her talk about it, you will benefit.
5) Has it always been Country music for you or what did you listen to growing up?
Haha! My CD collection ranges from NWA to Kenny G. I grew up with the Classic Rock my dad listened to which I think sounds a bit like today's Country. Tell me most Kenny Chesney songs don't sound a bit like something John Mellencamp would of done?
As far as what I listen to a lot now, It's The Fray, John Mayer, Colbie Caillat and Fitz and the Tantrums. I think I've got a thing for indie sounds and singer/song writers.
6) You have spent most of your career in the Green Bay market and you seem like you love it. If you had to go somewhere else though- what would be your top pick?
I can't ever see leaving the Midwest. If I go anywhere else it's gotta be "the Chi" or my second home Milwaukee. I'd be absolutely happier than a pig in mud working in Milwaukee, especially at WMIL under Kerry Wolfe. Did that seem like begging for a gig? You asked for my Top Pick?!?
7) What's more fun for you, being on the air or programming?
Programming. Not even a thought. It's one thing to connect with people one on one, but to be the man behind the curtain making all the moving parts work is what I live for.
8) How do you feel is the best way to stay in tune with what your listeners really want to hear?
You have to live their life. Watch what they watch, go where they go, and ASK THEM. Even if you don't have a callout research thing, you have Facebook. Your listeners are there, click their links, read what they say, pay attention to concerts they go to. Also remember that your competitors P1's can give you the same valuable info.
9) Tell us what your favorite radio station promotion has been so far in your career and why.
Has to be the first time WXSS did "The Fugitive" in the fall of '06. The promotion had a huge buzz and to top it off the fugitive was found in the middle of Mayfair Mall on Black Friday. Best exposure EVER!
10) So tell us what you like most about living and working in Green Bay! What is not to miss for visitors?
The area, it's awesome. I may be bias growing up here and being such an outdoors person but the bay is great for boating, fishing and duck hunting.
You also wouldn't believe it but there's a lot of great cultural influence and great restaurants because of it. It's a big city masked as a small town. And there's that team in Green and Gold. There's nothing like game day in Green Bay!
If you've never been to Lambeau Field you need to. The place is a shrine and will give you tingles no matter what team you root for. The history oozes from its walls.
1) I hear you are a pretty good cook! What's your specialty dish to make?
Anything with duck. How's a breast served over herb roasted potatoes with a raspberry balsamic reduction sound? Or what about duck marsala?
2) How did you become a Milwaukee Brewer's fan growing up so close to Lambeau Field?!
I've just always loved the game and it's the closest team. Milwaukee is only 2 hours away and it's not a big deal to drive down just for a game. I do for at least 20 a season. All my life they've been sooo terrible, it's great now to have a team that actually competes And Miller Park has an energy that just can't be described. Maybe it's all the brats and Miller Lite consumed in the parking lot before the game?
3) How old were you when you started duck hunting and what's your best duck hunting tip?
I've been water fowling since I was old enough to hunt. I just love it. It's not about killing birds that makes it so awesome. It's all about spending time with your friends and family in the outdoors. Nothing beats watching the sun come up over a field on a clear cold morning or having birds that fly like F16's come crashing down into your decoys. It's a sight that can't be described.
My tip is to take it all in, the little things. Most people don't take the time to appreciate the greatest gift God gave us; the picturesque outdoors.