The 31st annual Radio Mercury Awards were held on Thursday night June 9th, 2022 at Sony Hall in New York. Zimmer Communication’s Creative Services Director Josh Ryan won…and he won big. Josh is the winner of the 2022 Radio Mercury Award - one of the top honors nationwide for the radio industry: Top Creative Radio Commercial by a Station or Group.
We sat down with Josh to ask him about that night and find out more about him. If you have the privilege of working with Josh, you know that there’s never a dull moment. He is naturally goofy and fun and friendly and passionate. He makes marketing fun…for his co-workers, clients, and for radio listeners.
The ad that Josh wrote and produced, that earned him this recognition, is for Steve’s Pest Control. The title of the ad is Ticks Suck. You can hear the ad below:
I was completely shocked. I remember looking at Carla (Carla Leible, Station Market Manager) in complete disbelief. Honestly, the only other time I remember being this shocked was when my wife told me we were expecting our first child. We went up to accept the award and I had no idea what to say! I hadn’t prepared anything, because I honestly didn’t think I’d win. It’s just the fact that I’d been nominated 5 prior times and walked away empty-handed. You know, always a nominee and never a winner?!? To actually finally win is total validation that I’m doing what I’m meant to do with my life.
In fact, I contacted my 10th-grade speech teacher that weekend. She was the first person to tell me, at 15 years old, that I should consider radio and broadcasting as a career. She told me I had a great voice and that I was creative and funny. She saw my creativity, writing, and constantly playing around with goofy character voices and knew that it could actually mean something. I sent her a message and thanked her for seeing talent in me and believing in me.
I'm a St. Louis kid. Went to a big high school and took lots of creative writing classes. I was weird and I loved being weird. In school, I was made fun of for being weird…and now I get paid for it! It was in high school that I figured out there were actually jobs for this stuff. I tried college…wasn’t for me. I went to The Broadcast Center in St. Louis and launched a career in radio. Been in the business now for 14 years.
I’m a little bit of a hockey fan (air quotes around "little bit" - MAJOR understatement), and I love reading Stephen King novels. My daughter plays softball and I really dig the sport. She’s a beast behind the plate, and I love watching her excel. Other than that, I’m actually kinda boring. For me, it’s all about my wife and our kids.
I love that it’s different every day. The way my brain works, I need variety. I love working with clients and getting results. These people, these business owners, have dreams and marketing is a huge key to helping those dreams come true. It’s about building relationships with them and seeing them have success.
With my job, I get to create something out of thin air. Literally, there’s nothing and then there’s something. Working with sound, you can literally create anything. You can paint the best pictures with sound. You can pull people in, tell stories and take people to places. You can let people run with their own imagination.
I listen to the client tell their story, and I find areas of relatability. I listen for and find pain points…the problems they solve for people. I just know it when I hear it. When I find that point of connection between a business and a consumer, it’s an angle I use to turn the light on for somebody. To connect them to that to the business.
It’s all about relatability. Once listeners can relate to you, their guard is broken down and they feel like they know you before they’ve even met you. Breaking people’s barriers, showing potential customers that the business gets it and understands what they are going through. I simply connect people who have a problem with the people who can solve it.
If you feel like you’re a great storyteller and can paint pictures for people, know that there’s a home for you in radio. If you have lots of thoughts, your brain is always going and you make people laugh, then radio may be for you! Radio isn’t a normal job. We’re a different type. It takes a different type of person to connect all that stuff together and do it without being boring. You can’t train creativity, you have to have it. You either do, or you don’t.
And never forget that you’ve got to be bold. You gotta take chances. In a world that is cluttered with people clamoring to get your attention, you’ve got to do something different.
Don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s okay to take a shot and miss. You can tweak and change, but you have to be willing to push the envelope a little bit. If not you’ll get lost in all the other messages that nobody cares about. Advertising is in front of you all the time, but how much of it actually grabs you? You've got to be sticky…get in people’s ears and heads. Be daring. If people are talking about you, that’s a LOT better than them not saying anything at all. Tell your story. Your story’s not boring! It makes you who you are. Be who you are in your messaging. Then through the messaging, they will know you before they’ve even met you.
We salute you, Josh! Congratulations on earning an award that couldn't have gone to a better guy.
And hats off to all the 2022 Radio Mercury Award winners! Thanks to your hard work and dedication, radio continues to be the one traditional media that consistently delivers results time and time again.