10 Questions with ... Ryan Hoppe
September 22, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I first got my start in radio at Harper College in Palatine, IL at WHCM 88.3 FM from September 2012-February 2013. I then hosted my own overnight FM talk show at WNUR 89.3 (Northwestern University) called "Hoppe & SuperRICH". I also have interned for Dance Factory Radio, Steve Dahl, and the Morning Show Boot Camp radio conference. My first job in radio was as producer of the nationally syndicated "America Weekend" with my mentor Kipper McGee. I also was a phone screener for Rover's Morning Glory, and I currently work behind the scenes at 102.5 the Bone in Tampa.
1. What got you into radio? Why radio?
I always was intrigued by talk radio, going back to 2004 when I would go to school listening to Eddie & Jobo on B96. I loved how they had great chemistry, and would talk about the news while playing rap music. I also loved to listen to guys like Opie & Anthony, Jonathan Brandmeier, Adam Carolla, and DreX. I love all types of radio, but edgy and real talk radio has always drawn me in. In an age where everyone is offended by something every day, radio needs to be a place where people can speak their mind.
2. There's an image that young people aren't into radio; as a young person who IS into radio, do you think that stereotype is true, or is that a false image?
It is true, but it's also false at the same time. The overall consensus among kids my age is that radio is boring and it all sounds the same. That's why I am honored to be working at 102.5 the Bone and with Cox Media. In my opinion, radio needs to think outside the box and figure out ways to draw in the Millennials. FM talk radio can work; it's a fun format that brings in listeners and traction. At events for The Bone, listeners come up and talk about how listening to 102.5 The Bone makes work better. That's what I want to do for my generation, and that's what radio needs to do. Make it about the listeners and WHAT THEY WANT. If it wasn't for them being our listeners, then we would just be a bunch of guys talking into a microphone.
3. You've had an impressive list of guests on your podcast so far. Pick one: Who's the best/most memorable guest you've ever interviewed?
I really don't know where to start, I have had over 45 guests on my shows combined in the last two years. I've had everyone like Erock from Opie & Jimmy, to Fred from 103.5 KISS FM. I would say the most memorable part is that I sit back in my seat and say to myself, "wow, I'm talking to legit hosts on my podcast". I am always beyond honored when they sit in or call into "Hoppe Hour," it really means the world to me.
4. You're working on a traditional station as well as podcasting. You've done both in the past few years. From that perspective, where do you think the business is headed in the next ten years? Is podcasting going to be as big as radio has been, will traditional radio hang on... what do you think it'll all look like as your career progresses?
Radio will always be around because it's easy to turn on 102.5 the Bone or Hot 101.5 in Tampa Bay to hear the best talk radio or top 40 music. But podcasts and apps like Spotify and Pandora will make things tricky. Radio needs to realize that they need to combine with podcasts, because that's where you will find some of the most humble and hard-working talent that grind each and every day. In 10 years, I truly believe that radio and podcasting will finally combine and become one big medium.
5. Here's where you get to sell us on what you do on your own show: What's "Hoppe Hour" like? What will people hear when they check it out?
I want to be the next outspoken host for my generation, and to be the guy who speaks his mind. I don't want to be considered a "shock jock," because that word is tired and lame. But I do want to rant and tell it is like it. I put in a lot of production into my podcast, and sometimes spend three hours editing it. I am always booking guests to come on, and already have a ton of them waiting to come on. I would put "Hoppe Hour" in the format of "Hot Talk", but I want to change the format around. Most kids my age didn't get to hear "Hot Talk" when it was in its prime, so I want to be the guy who recharges this bad-ass format.
6. Who have been your influences, inspirations, and heroes in the business?
Oh, man, the list is so long, I don't know where to start. I love guys like Eddie & JoBo, Opie & Anthony, Bob and Brian, Mike Calta, Lex & Terry, Drew Garabo, and Ron and Fez. I literally could sit here and name off 20 shows that have influenced me. I love FM talk radio or talk shows that would be on an active rock station. It intrigues me and can always bring a smile to my face.
7. How do you use social media in conjunction with your show and your work at The Bone? Do you use it to engage with listeners, do show prep, or in some other way? How important are Facebook and Twitter, if they are, and which is more important for you?
I have a following here because of the exposure that Mike Calta and Drew Garabo have given me here in Tampa Bay. They have played my show on the air, and I am a regular guest on "The Mike Calta Show." I also have a following from my time on Rover's Morning Glory, so I use both cities as a way to get listeners. Twitter is important because it can bring in news in real time, but Facebook is just there for me to spread the brand. I find Facebook to be silly, cliche, and full of annoying memes. But I still have one because you have to have one in 2015. I get my show prep from sites like The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, and Talk Topics.
8. You've been a tireless networker for the last few years. What advice would you give to others about networking -- what tips do you have for others looking to get ahead in radio?
It's not rocket science whatsoever; anybody can do it, really. The key is making a LinkedIn account and reaching out to anyone and everyone. You have to be passionate about the business, and you can never let anyone tell you that you can't do it. I have had people say I wouldn't make it because of my speech impediment, or because I'm too "edgy." I've had social media accounts that rip me all day long, but I just block them and I go about my day. I had some rough times back in March 2015, but I kept plugging along and worked tirelessly to get to where I am at right now. I am honored to be working promotions for 102.5 The Bone, and I want to thank Mike Oliviero for giving me this opportunity. Never ever give up, and keep grinding each and every day. Something will come up.
9. What’s one thing people know about you that would surprise them?
I meditate once a day to a clip on YouTube by Anita Moorjani, and it will always help me calm my nerves whenever I am having a bad day. It helps me realize that at the end of the day, it's just radio. Yes, you always need to be professional and should always bring your "A" game. But radio should be fun and always be about the listeners.
10. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
You can't let the fame get to your head whatsoever. I am realizing now that I let the fame get to head a little bit while I worked on Rover's Morning Glory, and I let some of the fans online really get to me. Everyone needs to realize that what is said online is not real life. They would never say it to anyone's face at any station event, and they do it because they want to feel like they are a part of the show. So just ignore the hatred that social media brings sometimes, and ALWAYS be HUMBLE. Finally, the best radio is when you treat everyone equally and never have members of the team acting like they're better than the rest of the crew. Being mean on-air or exploiting people is cheap radio, and I will never ever do that.