By Judith Salkin
How many professional hats do you put on every week?
For most of us it’s one, maybe two. But, three? That’s when it becomes difficult.
But for The Mix 100.5’s on-air jock and program director Bradley Ryan, it’s a normal day at the office. For the Massachusetts native, “It’s just what I do,” he said.
Ryan spends his weekday mornings from 6 to 10 a.m. as The Mix’s morning drive time jock, one of the most sought-after positions at a radio station. The rest of the day he’s at the R&R owned station in his position as program director for The Mix and KDES.
Nights will soon find him on the other side of the music with his new band, but more on that later.
“When I was a kid, my goal was to be the next (Quentin) Tarantino,” Ryan, 39, said recently from his office. Like a lot of college kids course requirements changed his life. “I had to take one radio class during my last year to graduate,” he recalled. With only the power of his voice to influence listeners and paint vocal pictures, “I learned about the ‘theater of the mind’ power of radio.”
He’d been a successful party DJ and the transition to radio was nearly seamless for him.
When he started, Ryan worked along the East Coast and his goal was to work in a major market. After stints in places like New London, Conn., and Providence, Rhode Island, Ryan made it to the major market returning to his hometown of Boston.
After a few years Ryan had another goal, to move up to program director. And the prospect of desert summers didn’t scare him off. “I love the heat,” he said. “I’ve always loved summer weather.”
What he found was a community where he could pursue his career and still have time to pursue other interests, too.
Being program director isn’t so much a power trip as it is a way to expand his reach professionally. “It was another way to influence the listeners,” he said. “Going back to my film dreams, I thought it would be like Clint Eastwood deciding he’d like to direct to see what that would be like. I wanted to take that next step forward and to be more creative, which it has been.”
A long held desire to move to California was still rattling around in his head, when The Mix position came up, “It sounded like a good move,” he said.
He’s definitely a split personality when it comes to being on-air and programming. “When it comes to programming, I have to think about the audience for each station which makes it easy to keep their personalities separate, and separate from mine,” he said.
Where he does exert his influence is in the arena of which local charities and events he chooses to involve the stations and himself.
“Anything to do with breast cancer,” he said. “Anything we can do to fight this disease. And any other cancer, we’re there. Breast cancer doesn’t just come around once a year.”
When he’s not on the air or working at the station, Ryan is working with his new band, Less Than Zero, where he’s upfront as the band’s lead singer.
“I’ve been in bands for years and I’ve never been as excited about what I was doing,” he said.
He’s played some rough cuts for record industry execs that he knows, “and they’ve been blown away,” he said. “The stuff we’re doing is totally kick-ass. This may finally be ‘it’.”