Dave Ryan’s Secret to Creativity

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Coaching the Dave Ryan Show in Minneapolis is a joy. Dave is one of the most talented and most respected on-air personalities in North America..

Dave, along with co-hosts Falen and Steve-O, is king of the morning drive hill in MSP, a winner of Studio Think Tank’s Favorite Contributor award, and he is a MENSA certified genius. Dave coaches other on-air performers for iHeart Media, and for The Randy Lane Company.

Despite success and accolades, Dave remains humble, coachable, hungry ,well-liked by everyone in the industry, including his competitors.  – Jeff McHugh

You really don’t need to be creative to have a successful morning show.  You can steal great ideas from a dozen different sources and a hundred different shows.  Heck, you’ll get a handful of great ideas just by reading the rest of Randy’s email this week!

And you can visit any big-time morning show website and steal, steal, steal!  There’s Studio Think Tank, Bitboard and Morning Show Boot Camp.  You can even steal stuff from Jimmy Fallon and Conan!

So, really, your show prep for this week is already done for you.  Close your email, turn on your new Nintendo Switch and relax.  You’ve got this.

Seriously though, I’m going guess you’ll spend a lot of time this week creating bits and coming up with ideas and content.  That’s what radio careers are built on and that’s what puts big-time shows on the map.  Plus, it’s fun.

A kid was interviewing me today for a school project, and after the standard, “How did you get into radio?” and “Who messed up your haircut?” they always ask, “What do you like best about your job?”  My honest answer was, “I love being creative.”

Radio is one of the few jobs where every single day is a clean canvas that I can paint any way I want.  I can do just about anything I want on our show and there’s no feeling like that.  It’s a huge privilege, and of course, a huge responsibility.

Falen from my show asks me at least once a week, “Where do you come up with this stuff?  Your brain must have some weird $#@% going on in there!”  I’ve decided to take that as a compliment.  And while there may occasionally be some weird $#@% in my mind, fortunately, a lot of it is decent enough to use on the radio.

Here’s the biggest tip I have on being creative:  Stock up on experiences.

Wait, what?  That’s it?

Yep, pretty much.  Think about it this way.  If you went to the grocery store and bought standard stuff like eggs, flour, sugar, ground beef, bacon, cheese, Crisco, etc. you’ll be able to make some pretty decent, standard meals.

BUT if you filled your cart up with more and more exotic ingredients, you’d be able make a whole lot more different and interesting dishes.

It’s the same way with your life and experiences.  If you do the same things, watch the same shows, hang with the same friends and eat at the same Buffalo Wild Wings, you’ll only have a few “ingredients” to your creativity.

How can your mind come up with new ideas if you keep feeding it the same thing?  Slap your brain upside the head by watching a channel you never watch, eating somewhere you’ve never been, or doing something you’ve never done.

I’m one of those people who always wants to try something new.  I have a million hobbies including flying, magic, board games, history, running, snowboarding and motorcycles.  I played Judd Fry in a community theater production of Oklahoma! three years ago. I also want an aquarium, I want to learn sailing and photography and how to design the perfect Ponzi scheme.

When I’m finished writing this article, I have to practice my trumpet for a band I put together.  It drives my wife crazy, but there’s so many interesting things to try, and when you throw so many “ingredients” into your head, the ideas just seem to come out of nowhere.

Example: What a wealth of material you’d get right now, today, if you signed up for a Zumba class!  Of course, I’d laugh at you and would probably call you just to make fun of you, but it’s a great source of content for you show!  Or learning to speak Spanish?

Or setting up a bee box and ordering bees online like Falen did!  Her murdering dozens of innocent bees through neglect and bad beekeeping skills was a big source of entertainment for everyone who listens to our show.

I’ve known lots of morning show people who are super-social, tons of fun and a joy in the hallways.  Surprisingly, they’re not always the most creative, because a lot of their time is spent doing the same thing: Hanging with friends.

There’s nothing wrong with that, BUT if they’d mix it up a little, take taekwondo, buy a puppy or meet a serial murderer on Match.com, they might suddenly have a ton of ideas to contribute to the show!

So go stock up on those experiences!  Remember you can also get them on TV, in movies, and steal them from your friend.  You might be amazed at the “weird $#@%” your mind comes up with!

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/131462187@N07/

Dave Ryan
Dave Ryan
Dave Ryan, host of The Dave Ryan Show, KDWB/Minneapolis, is well-known as one of our industry’s most creative talents, cranking out original features (The One That Got Away, Battle of the Sexes, Mile of Meat and hundreds more), bits and contests that have been used in all 50 states and around the world.
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