The flair q&A

Rita Ryan

Being a leader in what you love does not have to be your full time gig. As a matter of fact, if it's a side passion - even more inspiring. Meet Rita Ryan, a lover of music and musicians, and DJ/host of her self-created LocalMotion - an independent radio show & station based out of Vassar College.

Tell me about your business or specialty.
I host a weekly specialty radio show called LocalMotion on 91.3 WVKR (based out of Vassar College). The show focuses on music in the Hudson Valley and is comprised of interviews with musicians who live here, those who come to perform in our area venues and/or ones here to record in our local recording studios.

How'd you get to where you are now?

I got here by total accident! I worked at another radio station handling marketing and ended up hosting an on-air show one day, and stepped in as a filler. After I left that job, and no longer worked at a radio station, I had people contact me asking where I was because they weren’t hearing me on the air any longer. Someone told me about this great, independent, commercial-free radio station WVKR, so I contacted them pretty much on a lark. They told me they were actually looking for a community DJ who would host a show focused on music of the Hudson Valley! I jumped on it.

For my show, I book each artist directly. I search various area venue websites, see what's on tap, who’s coming to the area - or who I might simply be interested to interview and hear their story - and reach out to the musicians or their booking agents directly.

How has the Covid crisis affected your work or business?

Any new ideas or approaches…or lessons learned so far? I host my show live in the station - during the height of the lock down phase, musicians called in instead of in-person interviews. Now, we are back to regular in-studio meetings. Other than not going on campus to host the show for a one month pause, I’ve been able to do my show weekly and steadily during the pandemic.

What surprises you in your work, now or in the past?

What surprises me are my weekly guests! I learn something with every interview I host. So many great stories have come about, each artist is quite different and their journeys are so unique. For instance, I ask and learn how they got into the music business, how they sustain and I’ve learned some almost gave up - and then something out of nowhere happened and changed their course, like an unexpected booking or a media review.

What drives you crazy?

The only thing that drives me crazy is when technology isn’t functioning. Otherwise, I absolutely love hosting LocalMotion!

Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

All my guests inspire me. I interview all types of musicians - and many of their personal stories grab me. An example, when I interviewed Paul Shaffer and Anton Fig (The Late Show with David Letterman), I was intrigued to learn of their backgrounds (both had music in their blood since childhood) - I'm surprised by many guests backgrounds. Where they grew up, how they started, obstacles they faced. If you’re a music fan, try tuning in and listening to an interview live (or check out on my YouTube or facebook page)…you many find a new voice you really like!

You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights in your career to date?

I am passionate about the music scene in the Hudson Valley. We have countless world class talents living right in our area. Any night of the week you can see renowned musicians playing at any given venue, anywhere. I’ve hosted over 280 shows with just as many interviews - and each show brings me such joy. I also record every interview and they are uploaded on my YouTube channel, as well as being available as a podcast on Spotify. I’ve heard from people all over the world who have listened to LocalMotion - there is nothing better!

Words of wisdom or thoughts?

During these trying times, the world needs the arts now more than ever. It’s been such a challenge for area music venues and musicians - I encourage people to support live music venues and theaters, become a member, go to musicians websites and buy their merchandise and music. Also, from a personal viewpoint, don’t be afraid to try new things for yourself. I sort of fell into my DJ work (as a side passion, I have a day job!) but now I see it was meant to be. I love it.


Rita Ryan has lived in the Hudson Valley since she was eight years old, having grown up in the small hamlet of Tivoli. She has worked in many fields, including Real Estate, Marketing and Sales, and is currently an Account Executive for Petro Home Services in Poughkeepsie. She is passionate about music and the arts, and her radio show at WVKR provides a voice and platform for many emerging and established musical talents. Her show is heard all over the world. Her most beloved role is that of being a Mom to her daughter who is entering her senior year of college and graduation with two degrees, including music. Together, they have traveled far and wide, and hope to continue their traveling adventures for years to come.

LocalMotion airs Wednesdays 4pm - 6pm on WVKR 91.3

@LocalMotionWVKR (facebook)

(published 2021)