Welcome to the first installment of the Power Producer series, our chance to shine a spotlight on some of our favorite producers and hear what drives them to make great radio. And what better way to kick off the new series than with the OG Rock and Alternative radio prod god, Malcolm Ryker.
You would be hard pressed to turn on a rock station in America and not hear Malcolm’s distinctive voice between songs. Not only is he a VO pro, he also co-hosts the nationally syndicated weekend rock remix show “Skratch ‘N Sniff” that’s heard on over 60 stations. With all that said, what makes Malcolm the perfect candidate for our first Power Producer installment is his impressive Imaging career (cough, 91X!). He currently resides in San Diego and now that orca riding has been blackballed, splits time between his position as iHeartMedia’s Creative Services Director, blowing up KIOZ-Rock 105-3 and shepherding iHeart’s Active Rock format as the NPP Imaging Director/Coordinator.
How in the hell did you end up a Radio Imaging Producer?
I got a degree in Radio/TV from Arkansas State. After that I started working at a local radio station. I got my first big break moving to a newly created rock station, KWLN In Memphis. I was doing concert spots and got pretty good at it. I then worked my way up into bigger and better markets. By the time I hit 91x in San Diego around 1996, I was told by Tim Dukes: “Hey, maybe you should come off the air and just focus on imaging!”
Who were some of your idols and mentors early on?
John Frost has always amazed me. Another early KROQ guy was Jim Pratt. Paul Frees (the haunted mansion voice at Disneyland) has always been an early influence.
When you need inspiration today, where do you turn?
Inspiration always comes from life, what’s happening, and trends. I do bounce ideas and share stuff with Miles Hlivko at KIIS, Josh Jensen in Tampa, Roger Keeler in Denver, Drew Hall in Tampa, and a new guy on the radar is Billy Black at WMMS . . . dude is wack.
What’s a day in the life of Malcolm Ryker like?
I voice a shit-ton of stations out of my studios in San Diego. I voice and produce local rocker KIOZ -Rock 105-3 (with better ratings than 91x or FM 94/9). I also produce KHTS (Channel 9-3-3 KHTS!), and KMYI-FM Star 94-1. I keep my eyes on the whole cluster and do TV VO. I’m represented by Atlas.
We know you have some time-saving tips for us, hand ‘em over!
Get into your studio early! Ha, I’m in at 7:30 am. Finish when it’s all finished.
How has Radio Imaging changed in the last 10 years and where do you see it headed?
It’s changed by getting more simple and more integrated into the product. Especially CHR, where pieces are mostly dry and snuck under music. There is also more of a national emphasis on projects.
What do Imaging Producers need to stop doing in their production?
Sometimes I feel like the whole Filter Voice thing needs to relax. It’s cool sometimes, but not all the time. If you’re producing an AM station and you’re filtering the voice, seriously? Hello, it’s thin enough already.
How did your imaging background help you transition into a voiceover career?
I’ve always had great relationships with radio and other creative service guys. I love to do radio VO and ad-lib to give that extra life to people’s stations. I’m all about quick turnaround!
Personal question . . . what’s your favorite plugin and why?
I LOVE THE PRO TOOLS VARI-FI. It’s cooler than a quick fade and you can get in and out of anything with it!
We can’t help ourselves . . . show us your studio!
Drool . . . Can you play us one of your favorite pieces?
This is a favorite old school promo of mine. It’s from 2003 when I was at 91x during their 20th anniversary. FM 94/9, Rock 1053, and KPRI were all trying to grab our sound in a heated rock ratings battle. I took an Eminem track and had fun with it. At the time Mike Halloran was the PD at FM 949 (he’s the current 91x PD) but he was originally from Detroit, so that was the inside joke for using Eminem in the promo on a San diego rock station . . . what fun!
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