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In the spotlight....

Dave Ryan

Interviewed by Steve Harmon

This week, legend Dave Ryan...
Harmon:  The last few years many morning shows have had to make changes due to budgets...Describe the show and cast here in 2008..and how to keep your staff together? 
Dave I've been here 15 year and our turnover on my show has been pretty slight. Our current line-up is Steve-O who came here from WPXY in Rochester, and Lena Svenson who, no kidding, worked at a bank a year ago. No discredit to the female radio talent out there now, but we looked and looked and finally decided to give this girl a chance and she's a natural


Harmon:  How have the budget cuts and financial mood altered your show plan?

Dave: We don't get money for simple things anymore like jock photos or t-shirts. Every penny is squeezed talent-wise and raise-wise. So I've found that if you get people that are passionate about radio and never let themselves get away with doing a half-assed job, you'll see great results. If there's anyone on your show that has an attitude of "That's not my job" or "They don't pay me enough to do that!" Get rid of them now because they'll kill your show..

You have had a lot of success with your show...what determines a hire for you?

Dave:  Attitude, mostly. I've done this a long time and if Sunday night rolls around and I dread going in to see the people I work with, it's not good. Fortunately, I'm at a point where I get to decide who's on my show, and I pick a combination of talent and attitude every time. I was at a job interview in San Diego one time a long time ago and the PD has a poster in his office that said, "It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." Cheesy? Maybe, but it's true. I've known a ton of people who were very talented but their attitude finally caught up to them.

What time do you get to the studio?

Dave:  About a nano-second before the show starts. I've got my stuff done the night before and I catch up on the news while I'm getting ready for work.

Harmon:  Has your prep changed over the years?

Dave: Absolutely. I used to prep for HOURS every single day. And I still prep but radio has evolved and our show has evolved. You need to shut down your PC, stop watching Youtube and screwing around on facebook and go live an interesting life! You have to talk about your kids, your wife, your life. Just today I took my son to the Star Wars Exhibit and he loved it. He's 7 and a source of GREAT relatable kid stories.  


Harmon:  Give an example of one of the many days you "owned one of your markets".

Dave:  Just a few months ago, a big tornado hit a town near here and did a lot of damaged and killed a little boy. While the rest of the market sat around trying to figure out what to do, we were on it the next day raising money for the town. It was very successful and people loved us for it. But the biggest thing was in 1997, a huge flood devastated Fargo, North Dakota and I organized every single station to broadcast from one street corner to raise supplies. Every station but one (dickheads!) participated and while KDWB did get credit for it, every station there looked like a hero.

How do you use the internet in marketing your show? How often is it part of your content?

Dave:  I obsess over our website. It's your show's face to the world, to the industry, to your listeners when you're not there. It's also an amazing avenue of creativity. We spend an hour a day or more on our individual pages. If you ever wanted to make a short film or do a game show or TV show, you can do it on the internet. Keep it updated and check your spelling because listeners and clients will think you're a total tool if you can't differentiate between there, their and they're!

What's your biggest challenge?

Dave: Getting risky ideas past conservative people. Too many people are just out to save their job today. They never make a move for fear it'll be the wrong move. Convincing those people to take a chance is always a challenge. "You miss every pitch you don't swing at" is a real inspirational quote for me.

At ten o'clock or whenever you get off, how do you know it was a "good" show?

Dave: If we had fun on the show. If we're all laughing and in a good mood on the way out of the studio.

"The best BitBoard bit we ever tried was....."

Paul:  "Hold Your Wee for a Wii." Brilliant!

Wish more people on Bitboard would....?

Dave: Tell us stories from their real lives. That's good stuff!

Radio in the next 3 years will be:

Dave: Just me, you and Kidd Kraddick. Just kidding. There are so many shows that do so well out there. I wish radio would stop trying so hard to write it's own death notice. Everytime I hear someone talk about how radio is in trouble, I point out Bob and Tom or Elvis Duran who are amazing and making a lot of people a lot of money. If your station is dying, it's your fault. Get out of the business and let people with a passion take over. I was in a meeting once with a radio guy who compared being in radio to having a deck chair on the Titanic, in front of his whole staff. I thought, "This guy should be escorted from the building. And then pissed on!" Lol!


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