10 Questions with ... Chris Ryan
November 27, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WMXZ/Fort Walton Beach -- MD/nights
- WNUQ/Albany, GA -- mornings
- KKCT/Bismarck, ND -- PD/afternoons
- KZHZ/Des Moines, IA -- PD
- KHMX Houston, TX -- Kidd Kraddick Morning Show Producer / Morning Traffic
- WWHX/Bloomington, IL -- PD/middays
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I was always a radio "geek" when I was a kid. While my friends were playing video games, I was keeping track of Casey Kasem's AT40 every week. I used to walk around with a microphone and tape recorder recording myself talking like a radio deejay. I never really pursued radio until I was in the military. I got a part-time gig at WMXZ (R.I.P.) when I was stationed at Eglin AFB in Fort Walton Beach. I started off part-time, and when I left I was the night jock and MD.
2) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
We just launched the station on April 1st, 2012, so we're still growing. We're unique in the fact that we are the new, hip and cool station in town playing the biggest, most popular songs every time you turn us on. It's been a while since there has been a new Top 40 in the market, so listeners in the market are excited for something new and fresh. But music and programming decisions are made locally. I have the power to program the station to the market, unlike my competitor which is programmed out of Atlanta with a "one size fits all" playlist. We are very promotionally active and those decisions are also made locally. I've worked for some of the big corporate companies, but what I like about Connoisseur Media is that it's a smaller company and it seems more like a family. I like the fact that I know Jeff Warshaw, the CEO of the company, and he knows me, and I'm not just a number on his payroll.
3) What are you doing social media-wise?
We are very active on Facebook. For the first five months of the launch, we didn't have a website and were only on Facebook. That was on purpose. Most of our listeners are on Facebook and we wanted to connect with them that way. It's a much more personal and quicker way to get feedback from them, as opposed to a traditional website. We are also on Twitter and Pinterest. It's amazing how many Top 40s do not have a Pinterest page. We pin on our page just about every day.
4) What is your favorite part of the job?
I get excited to come to work every day and I love being a Program Director in general. Being able to launch a new station from the ground up is even more exciting. I love doing imaging (when I have time) and coming up with new promotions and seeing them come full circle on the air.
5) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
I'm a total "mutt" when it comes to music, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when I tell you I have Afrojack, Carrie Underwood, Hall & Oates, Hunter Hayes, Lil Kim, Lifehouse, Swedish House Mafia, Britney Spears, Wiz Khalifa and "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus on my playlist.
6) Could you give us a little insight into your on-air staff?
Elvis Duran kicks the station into full gear in the morning from 5-9a. Elvis is like drinking a can of Red Bull. The Elvis Duran Morning Show does an amazing job connecting with our female listeners. They're funny, relevant and are talking about the same things you're talking about with your friends. They talk about real-life things going on, whether it's sex, relationships, family, kids, work or what's in the news. It's like hanging out with a group of your friends and the listeners are encouraged to join in on the discussion. There's not really a morning show in the market that connects with the audience that way, so they definitely stand out. Content wins over bad local morning shows anytime! Jamie Reed is on from 9a-noon. Jamie is a content queen! She's been in the market for a while and I'm so lucky to have her. She really knows how to connect with the listeners. She's funny, entertaining and very likeable, and you can tell she's having a good time at what she does. I'm on from noon-3p. My show is filled with pop culture content, stuff going on locally and on occasions I make you laugh. Ryan Seacrest covers my afternoons from 3-7p. Jamie Reed also produces the show in-house. I think I have one of the tightest, best-produced Seacrest shows in the country, and Jamie does an amazing job with that. Seacrest may not be local, but he's a household name, plus no other station in the market has Rihanna, Justin Bieber or President Obama on their show. Stevie J is my new night jock. He's on from 7-11p. He's local and really funny. He's a show prep nazi and has compelling content.
7) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
That's an easy question ...a local webmaster. We definitely could do a better job with our website and social media sites at getting content up quicker. They would also be an on-air talent, too.
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
JJ Kinkaid on Z100 is my favorite on-air personality. I first started listening to him in overnights on KDWB. He has all the elements of what we should all strive to be. I also think Kaden on Hot 957 in Houston is a top-notch jock. Yeah, he's a friend of mine, but he does a great show, too. I used to listen to him before I met him. He's funny, knows his audience, and his show is nice and tight.
9) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I grew on FM 100 in Memphis, WXXL in Orlando and FLZ in Tampa. Those are the stations that made me want to do radio.
10) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
I'm usually listening to other Top 40s around the country. I like to hear what everyone else is doing and how they are evolving.
What was your last non-industry job?
I was a store manager for Family Dollar. The best paying and worst job of my life! Retail is the most thankless job on the planet and I applaud anyone who enjoys it and does it well.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
It was on my first station and it was 11:15p or so and I was doing a break with an intern and somewhere in the break I said "That's a bunch of shit ... oops, did I say what I think I just said ... yeah, I think I did ... now here's the Backstreet Boys." I never got one complaint.