10 Questions with ... Ryan Wild
March 28, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2001-2004 - KALA/Quad Cities, IA - On Air Talent
- 2003-2004 - WLLR/KMXG & WHTS/Quad Cities, IA - Weekend/Fill-In
- 2004-2005 - KBEA/Quad Cities, IA - Middays
- 2005-2006 - KBOB/Quad Cities, IA - PD/Mornings
- 2006-2007 - WXLP/Quad Cities, IA - PD/PMD Drive
- 2007-2009 - KCCQ/Des Moines, IA - OM/PD/Middays
- 2009-2015 - AOL RADIO/New York - MD
- 2009-2015 - WZSR-FM (CHICAGO) OM/PD
- 2012-2015 - WFXF-FM (CHICAGO) - OM/PD/Middays
- 2015-Present - KQKQ/Omaha, NE - OM/PD/PM Drive
- 2015-Present - KOPW/KOOO/Omaha, NE - OM/PD
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I was raised on it! I grew up listening to Spike O'Dell, Bob Collins, and so many great talents on my dad's radio. I came from a family of Chiropractor's, but my dad was a radio junkie, so he always had it on, and I ate it up. I loved radio so much growing up that I used to record my own shows in my room after everyone was asleep, and I even built radio stations with my Lego's.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I had so many great mentors in my career, and it started with Dave Baker and Alan Sivell who were my broadcasting professors in college. They really did a great job preparing me to attack this industry after college. Once I was loose in the world, I learned under Quad Cities Vets like Jim O'Hara and Tony Waitekus who really laid down a solid base for me to grow with great learning opportunities. Around 2012, Jack Taddeo would walk into my radio life, and he would not only be a mentor for me, but would become a great friend, and running mate as we had some great times creating some cool radio for the masses.
3) What is it about KQKQ that you feel really makes it cut through?
Q98-Five is really in the middle of a very concentrated effort to reconnect with our audience. We have really stepped up our game on-air, online and on-site. We are trying to make sure that we are really engaging our audience the way we should. Some stations get too comfortable and forget the little things, but we are really encouraging our staff to embrace the little things and make them a part of their daily routine.
At the end of the day, what we are doing isn't anything special, it's just the things we should be doing and embracing. The staff has bought into this concept and the audience has been buying in and reconnecting as well. Embrace the little things and you will get big results!
4) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
Social media is our radio station beyond the airwaves, and other than the airwaves themselves it's one of the best tools in any station's arsenal. We use social media to constantly engage our audience with topical content, station content and more. You can't sit back and hope your audience connects with you. You have to go and find your audience and connect with them.
5) Please give us an example of a great promotion that your station recently did?
We recently came off of our Justin Bieber, "Sorry Not Sorry Birthday Bash" where we qualified listeners to win tix to see Justin Bieber. At the end of the promotion, we held a Justin Bieber "Sorry Not Sorry Birthday Bash" where we hung Bieber posters, encouraged listeners to come out dressed as Bieber, served his favorite food, and we even threw some random eggs in his honor while we celebrated his great (and not so great) moments.
This was one of those great opportunities to get the station out in front of the audience, have some fun with them and most importantly, create memories that will always be associated with the radio station.
6) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
I have always been big on engagement, and I am always trying to engage our audience on social media and try to find out what makes them react on there. As a PD, I try to make sure that I read every listener E-mail that comes in and I try to respond to all of them to keep dialogue going. This keeps my finger on the pulse of what the audience is liking, and not liking. The best way I like to engage is when I am at public events with the station. There is no better feedback than what you get from your audience when you are face-to-face with them. No radio station is perfect, and we have to be great listeners ourselves if we want to serve our audience.
7) Pandora, iHeart, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others now give listeners music on-demand. What effect will these new music services have on the radio and music industries?
Having spent seven years with AOL Radio while I was working in terrestrial radio, I was able to gather a ton of intel on this subject. I can honestly say that there is a place for everyone at the table. We live in a time where there are more options than ever to discover new music, and yes, people will seek it out on Pandora or IHeart, but they will also seek it out on terrestrial radio. These are also the same people that are also using your radio station every single day.
People still want engagement, they still want connection. They still want local radio. The effect, as I see it, is that now, more than ever, radio and the music industry need to be more on their game and spend more time looking deeper at what they are cranking out. If it isn't up to snuff we need to fix it and make sure we are giving the audience our best product.
8) Tell us what music we would find on your playlist right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I have always been a fan of Alternative music. In fact, "fan" might be a weak word for it. I am more of a junkie for it. I love everything about the genre. I have over 10 years programming experience in the format and it has always been a passion of mine. Such great music lives and breathes in that genre and I can't get enough of it. #imobsessed
9) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Never stop trying to find new skills that can make you more valuable. This industry is changing and shrinking all at the same time, so you need to be a master of a ton of different skills if you want to survive. Stay hungry, keep learning, and most-importantly, check your ego! Life is too short, and what you do will have an impact on someone's day. So don't miss the opportunity to be the good in someone's life at any given moment.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
For me, it has always been that I never miss an opportunity to be the good that others want to see in this world, and to never stray from who I am. I have lived by this philosophy my entire career and it has served me pretty well.
What do you do in your spare time?
I try to strike the balance of me work life and family life. This business can often interfere with your personal life with all the stuff we have to do for promotions, remotes and appearances.
As I get older and my kids get older, I am trying to make sure that I am find that balance, so I can be effective at work, but even more effective at home. I still have a long way to go, but I am a work in progress.
Who is your best friend in the business?
I have always been close with Frank Monroe with whom I worked with in Des Moines and Chicago. We just have that relationship where you would run through a wall for each other. The two of us are kind of like a modern-day odd couple...He's a Vegan, I love meat. He uses hair products, I have no hair. See where I am going here? In life, when you find good people, you just try to keep them around, and hope their good continues to rub off on you.
What's the closest you ever came to getting arrested for an on-air stunt? Or did you actually get arrested?
I wouldn't say that I ever came close to getting arrested, but I was a part of a radio prank that did fool pretty much every news outlet around the globe, ended up becoming a joke on late night TV and is still being talked about. You can still find it on Google to this day.
When you can honestly say that you have done a radio prank that ended up as the most used prep story in your station's prep service the following Monday, then you know did well.
No, I can't tell you what it is because it must live on, but I can tell you it did involve Phil Collins and Genesis. I probably just said too much.