Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Manno Brothers

I recently conducted this mini-interview of The Manno Brothers for SHORE Magazine...

The Manno Brothers, Ryan and Kevin // Q101, Chicago

Older brother Ryan and younger brother Kevin cohost the Manno Program every weeknight on Q101 FM. They grew up in Highland, Indiana, listening to Q101, and were both thrilled when they got jobs at their favorite station. They were eventually teamed up to host the 7 p.m. to midnight show together. Their show is a mixture of alternative music and talk, and showcases their mischievous senses of humor.

Radio Philosophy

Ryan: I think, for me, it’s simplified down to creating radio that I would want to hear. If I were stuck on the Skyway for an hour after work, what would truly engage me? What would distract me from the elements? I listen to talk radio all day long, studying the subtlety of engagement. Making a listener feel like more than a listener is key.

Kevin: I have a short attention span. When I’m in my car, I’m constantly reaching for the radio dial. Our goal every night is to prevent people from changing stations. Every single aspect of our radio show is centered around that thought. We aim to constantly give people what they want. That should be the goal in any sort of entertainment medium. It certainly is for us.

Radio Influences

Ryan: Mine was Mancow. Growing up, delivering The Times in Highland, I’d have his show in the headphones every morning. Oddly enough, I went on to be a full-time cast member on his show for three years, which was a surreal experience. Our parting was less than amicable, but I’ll always give the devil his due. I learned a lot from Mancow.

Kevin: I’d say I have three. My uncle, Mancow and a guy named “Sludge.” As a kid we would go see our Uncle Tony while he was working, and that was probably the first time I felt passion toward a career. The other two guys were Q101 DJs that I would listen to religiously while growing up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was constantly learning from them. I listened for the music and the entertainment, but every once in a while I’ll remember something I heard when I was 16, and it will influence my performance.

Best Advice

Ryan: I’m not sure I’ve ever received any real philosophical advice. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a strange business, because everyone wants to be on top, so it’s rare to find a true mentor. We get critiqued by program directors all day, but that’s mainly on form and execution.

My previous boss told me that a great jock can be a great jock regardless of the circumstances. I believe in that until I think of myself on a country station!

Kevin: Work hard! I think I received that advice from my brother. We both started as interns at Q101 while in college. He was two years ahead of me and he worked himself crazy. He actually won Intern of the Year. Had he not set that example, I probably wouldn’t be here.

Best Thing about Doing Radio Here

Ryan: The history of Chicago radio is so rich. We’ve had outstanding personalities in this city for so long that people forget how bad radio is outside of here. It’s brutal. To me, being written into that history (even as a footnote) is the best thing.

Kevin: From my point of view, it’s the music. Chicago has so many amazing bands. I don’t think I would love music as much as I do if I wasn’t from here. Aside from the local musicians, every touring band passes through this town. It makes our jobs easier when there are always great bands playing down the street.