10 Questions with ... JJ Ryan
January 31, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
At 14 I interned for WRVO in Oswego, NY. I was then given a weekend shift at WNYO (SUNY Oswego College Station) when I was 15. I then worked for WZZZ-A in Fulton, NY hosting a weekend Top 40 format show. I started with Clear Channel/Syracuse in 1999 and worked there until 2003 doing weekends on WBBS B104.7 and WWHT (Hot 107.9). In 2003 I moved to Fayetteville, AR to take APD/MD/nights at Cumulus KMCK (Power 105.7), where I still remain. I currently do afternoons on KMCK and am the OM for our Fayetteville and Ft. Smith stations.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
When I was around 12 years old, my father brought me to WGES (Star 105.5) in my hometown of Oswego, NY. He was friends with Bob Gesner, who owned the station and gave me permission to sit in during the morning show and watch. I decided it would be funny to bring some Dunkin Donuts for them and once they saw I had donuts when I walked in, they pulled me into the studio and put me live on the air. I was hooked from that first on-air conversation. I remember joking around with them to this day. I still have the tape of this somewhere. It's embarrassing to listen back on now though :)
2) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Definitely! I'm the Operations Manager for two clusters; Program Director for twp stations; and do air shifts on both stations. Can you say time management?
3) What is your favorite part of the job?
It sounds cliché but seeing/hearing the listeners excited about the station. It makes spending extra time massaging a music log or all the time spent coming up with a big promotion worth it.
4) What is the most challenging part of the job?
It took me four days to get around to answering this "10 Questions" sheet so I'd say time management! Completing the "crucial/important" list so you can work on the "to-do wish" list is always a challenge.
5) What's the coolest promotion you've been involved with recently?
I would love to be able to say our latest flyaway or major giveaway but it was a really simple contest that turned out to have one of the biggest reactions from listeners in a few years. A week-and-a-half before the Cotton Bow,l we were asked by Dr. Pepper to give away 25 pairs of tickets to the game on KMCK Power 105.7. The University Of Arkansas is located here so without hesitating we said "Yes!" We gave away two to three pairs of tickets per day and the response from listeners on the streets, by phone, and on social media was incredible. We've given away cars, cash, trips and rarely receive thank-you notes afterwards. We had at least five cards come into the station the following week and various posts on social media thanking us for the tickets.
6) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Moxy Fruvous, although they haven't made new music in years ... I played quite a bit of their music on a college radio station that I worked for while I was in high school (WNYO). They performed during an annual summer festival in my hometown while I worked there and they were my first interview. I still have the tape somewhere, but I refuse to listen to it because it's a reminder I had not fully hit puberty yet and sounded like a girl.
7) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
About five years ago, I decided to give working in law enforcement a try. I was hired by a local city a few months later and went through the academy. I continue to work as a patrol officer part-time. I've only been recognized as "JJ Ryan" once and it just so happened to be while searching a vehicle with several high school students in it. My supervisor actually confirmed to them I was "JJ Ryan" because he thought it was amusing. Thankfully, I never found anything illegal and didn't have to arrest anyone. Phew!
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Kane! He was the reason I wanted to really chase my radio dream. I remember calling him all the time when he worked for WWHT and he always took the time to talk about radio with me. He let me shadow him during live broadcasts at the State Fair and get a feel for what it was like to do "big" radio. It didn't seem like a big deal then, but I now realize how nice of a gesture it was. I'm sure I was "that annoying kid" but he never treated me like one. He continues to be one of the best air talents in the country. I owe him a few dinners when I see him for sure.
9) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
Mila Kunis. 'Nuff said.
10) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WNTQ (93Q) was on almost any time I was home. I still remember listening to "The Ragman" every night while doing homework. I then listened to WWHT Hot 1079 as well once they launched. It was my first true taste of a Top 40 battle and I remember loving every minute of it.
Name the artist/act (living or dead) you'd love to meet and why?
Stevie Wonder! I've loved his music ever since I was a kid and he's one of the most difficult artists to obtain tickets to because he doesn't tour or do shows on a regular basis. He's by far my favorite artist of all time.