Dave Ryan in the Morning has been one of the highest rated morning shows in North America for more than two decades. Dave’s show has outpaced KDWB Minneapolis by more than 20% since the inception of PPM.
Dave shares his insights on how his quirky cast is characterized, and how they’ve helped keep the show on top in the twin cities in Part One of our conversation.
Randy: Why in the world would a man terrified of heights repel down a 30-story building?
DR: We will do anything for attention. That’s part of our job. I think that’s part of the reason we become deejays in the first place; we love attention.
Getting attention is also a way to raise money, which is something we really love to do. I was a boy scout. My son is a boy scout – almost an eagle scout. My brother was an eagle scout, and my dad was a scout leader. A chance to help out the boy scouts is why we’re doing this stunt.
I have an enormous fear of heights, and this has been great content for our show. The guys are enjoying giving me a hard time about it.
Randy: Tell us a little about the cast members of your show.
DR: Steve is the lightning rod on the show, to use a Randy Lane term. He’s the one who says things that make people go “What the hell are you talking about?!”
I’m also considered a lightning rod guy who will say what people think. For example, I noticed that Demi Levato’s album cover has been ridiculously photoshopped. And how contradictory is that? This is the same artist who sings “Confident”- all about being confident with the way you look.
And I tell people, don’t worship celebrities. Celebrities for the most part are a bunch of degenerates.
I subscribe to the old-school Gilligan’s Island rule. If everyone on Gilligan’s Island were as smart as the Professor or as stupid as Gilligan, the show wouldn’t have worked. Everyone on the show has to have a different viewpoint.
Randy: Falen and Jenny, your two female characters, how do they contrast one another?
DR: I’ve never worked with anyone who female listeners have bonded with so much as Falen. Women want to be her best friend. They love that she’s funny, that she doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not. She’s from Indiana, a little bit of a hillbilly, and I think women really like that. She is flawed, funny, dirty, but also sensitive, warm and relatable.
Jenny is great! She’s relatively new to radio. She’s the 26 year old who’s still dating, still on Tinder, goes to parties, goes to the strip clubs, and goes to the bars after hours.
We recently sent Jenny out on what we call “‘elimi-dates,” with 5 guys at the Minnesota State Fair, and she had to eliminate one guy every hour. The guy she ended up with, she’s actually been dating for a while now, and it’s been great content for our show.
Randy: You’ve said to me before, and I’ve always remembered this, that a female-targeted show relies on a strong female character for its success.
DR: Its really true. The days of the male host turning down the females microphone and letting her giggle in the background and say girly things, those days are over. It’s 2016. There are still hosts that do that, and I don’t know why.
That reminds me of a story. Ten years ago we were looking for the third person on our show and wanted a female. I was getting frustrated because we weren’t finding anyone. I finally found a bank teller who had done some improv. She had never been on the radio before, but I auditioned her, and she killed it.
I saw and heard something in her that told me that she had what so many people in the business wish they had: an air of vulnerability, professionalism, perspective and talent like no other. That same woman is now Bethany on the syndicated Elvis Duran show on Z 100.
Photo Credit: Flickr.com/photos/39908901@N06/