10 Questions with ... Ryan Koch
November 11, 2014
1. What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first job in radio was hosting a Sunday night local music show on Rock 106.1 WFXH called Underexposed. I started hosting that show in early 2011 for free, which led in to a job offer as Promotions Director in 2012.
2. What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize this is what I want to do for a living?
I moved to Savannah in 2009 and had no idea what I was going to do as I made the move for my wife to go to school at SCAD here in Savannah. I helped a friend open up a venue/restaurant on Tybee Island and once we started booking live music I need to contact a local radio station and that station was WFXH/Savannah-Hilton Head. In Detroit you had to go to Specs Howard (Broadcast school) or the radio folks would not talk to you at all (which I think is crap).
So I hung around WFXH and kept asking to host the local show Underexposed. Never really thought I would do "this" for a living.
3. How long have you been working for WFXH (Rock 106.1) and how long have you been MD?
I have worked for Rock 106.1 WFXH for almost three years and I have been MD since the beginning of 2014, and I am having a blast for one simple reason ... I love music!
4. You also do Nights for Rock 106.1 and I understand you have some other duties within the company. Care to Elaborate?
I host the night shift on WFXH (7p-12a M-F) as well as the MD. I am also on-air Saturday afternoons and I host a local show on Sunday nights called Underexposed. I have also been having a great time with the addition of my Night Shift YouTube video's since I practically work seven days a week, I document everything I do on my GoPro camera and at the end of the week I edit them all into a nice video. I also book/promote bands at a small venue on Tybee Island called The Rock House and I have been doing that since 2009. We just won Best Place to Listen to Live Music for a 4th year in a row (The Tybee Breeze - Breezy Awards 2014).
5. I know that you're a very passionate Rock music fan. As a MD, when you listen to new music, approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
My overall feeling is gut. Music has been with me (same for a lot of people) my whole life, from playing violin in grade school to touring for six years in my melodic metal band (ended in 2006) Research is a good gauge for certain artists in my opinion as well as sales. Chart position is a tricky thing; over time, you learn how to gauge chart position and learn as to why some tracks speed up to the top 5 and fall as fast as they rose. I truly believe it is a little bit of all above mentioned. My gut is still my #1!
6. What's your take on current Active Rock music? Is it as good as six months or a year ago, better, or about the same? Give us your take on the Active Rock format as a whole.
Active Rock has some really great things going as far as new bands popping up in the genre, although I have never been a fan of genre for one main reason, bands get caught up in "trying" to write a "format" hit using the same structure, sound, words, etc. as the previous band with a top-5 hit, which leads me to where the Active Rock genre is right now -- oversaturated with music that all sounds the same. A few of the genre's "core" artists sound the same to me and I would love to eventually see and hear those core bands take a stand and try to breathe a new, updated life in to the Active Rock genre as the new bands of the genre are doing right now!
7. Rock 106.1 runs a new music feature called "You Heard It First" weeknights at 11p. I assume this is a great way to expose new Rock artists and songs. How often does a song jump from there into your regular rotation?
YES! I love that hour of my shift (night shift) as I am an extreme fan of new music! I wouldn't say that it is an "often" type thing but more as a gauge/platform for me/station to use to find out what new songs the listeners want to hear more of. It's almost like the on-deck circle in baseball; no one artist is guaranteed a graduation from the new music show until they make some chart noise, feedback from listeners etc. To answer your question, I would say 30-45% of the artists that start in the new music show move in to regular rotation.
8. What are your three favorite artists or songs of this past year and why?
My 3 favorite artists of the past year are:
- Nothing More - They have taken the genre by storm in my opinion!
- Royal Blood - A breath of fresh air into the Active Rock genre!
- Foo Fighters - Well ... Because they are always improving the Rock N Roll experience!
One more to add:
- CUSSES (local Savannah band) coming soon! Because they are rock!
9. How much does WFXH use Social Media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the overall listener experience?
We use social media pretty heavily as is. We all post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube and our new Wordpress website. I am a huge user of social media all day long and I think social media is just as important as on-air as far as keeping listeners entertained.
10. Finally, when you're not in "radio mode," what do you like to do to get away from the biz and relax?
My wife and I are in a band called "electricparK" It's a punk/electro/rap experiment that we have been doing since 2007. We perform locally in Savannah roughly every four to five months. My wife and I love to go camping, outdoors and love to create art. We normally do not have much down time as I live my life for radio much more as radio has became a part of my life. Hope I explained that well and it made sense.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
- Glassjaw "Everything You Ever Wanted TO Know About Silence"
- The "Judgment Night" soundtrack
- Motley Crue "Theatre of Pain"
- Outkast "Aquemini"
- Nothing More, Self-titled