This piece is a part of our new Q+A series.
Greenville is home to many talented creatives, and today we’re talking to one of them: Ryan Alford.
Ryan is the CEO of Radical, a digital ad agency, and he also hosts his own marketing + advertising podcast, The Radcast, which has over 130 episodes with listeners all over the world.
Name, title, what are 3-5 things you want people to know about you?
- I am a father to four fantastic boys.
- I am trying to create the most desired place to work in Greenville.
- I don’t settle for anything in my life.
- I never expect more from others than I do of myself.
If you’re originally from Greenville, why have you stayed here? If you’re not, what brought you here?
Greenville has always been home. Everything else has been a detour. I’ve worked for some of the biggest marketing companies in the county (NYC & Chicago), servicing some of the biggest brands in the world. But Greenville and I grew up together. It was nothing when I was 10, and it became something when I was in my twenties, kind of like me. While in NYC and Chicago, I saw what was happening back home, and realized, there’s no better place to raise a family and have the opportunities to grow professionally than my very own hometown. And in that sense, I know how fortunate I am to be from the Upstate.
Tell us about an obstacle you’ve had in life and how you overcame it.
I flunked out of Clemson my very first semester. I had a 0.6 GPA for my first semester. My parents yanked me out of school and forced me to come back home and work for a year. I came back to Clemson a year later humbled, more appreciative and more dedicated to the rigors of higher education. Now, I’m one of the most successful people from my graduating class. Life is all about stumbles and fumbles. It’s not about giving up. It’s about not beating yourself up. It’s about trying again, harder than the last time.
Convince a friend to move to Greenville in 15 words or less.
Very little traffic. Lots of growth. Low cost of living.
What does your ideal Saturday night in Greenville look like?
Something with the boys and always with my incredible wife Nicole. We love our time as a family unit spent on the boat at Lake Keowee.
What’s an improvement you’d like to see in Greenville?
Better roads for sure. And a more diverse candidate pool for our job force.
What local dish do you crave + rave about?
Shrimp & Grits from Southern Culture.
What do you hope Greenville is like in 10 years? 20 years?
I hope Greenville stays as community minded and big hearted as I’ve always known it to be. But I also hope we welcome more diversity, inclusion and influences from all the awesome people who move here, who realize just how special we have had it. I think Greenville is poised for really great things.
Tell us some background behind the podcast. What inspired you to start one?
As a professional content creator for brands and clients, podcasting was a very natural adoption for me. My first podcast experience was connected with a digital car dealership business I had launched. After gaining confidence, technical prowess and an engaged audience, the segway into a marketing and business focused podcast was inevitable. I was early to the podcast party, and now having over 130 episodes of The Radcast, I am honored to be one of the more established podcast hosts, producers and experts, especially in the world of marketing, and certainly within Greenville!
What do you think makes it so successful/ different from other podcasts?
We are a modern ad agency, and we tell our story through a highly humanized lens. Which is why I am thrilled by our very dynamic database of subscribers. And I like to think our authenticity shines through, which is what I attribute to attracting very prominent and engaging guests — leaders, innovators and disruptors of their industries.
Do you have a favorite podcast episode that you’ve produced? If so, tell us about it.
Well they are all my babies, so it’s very difficult to pick one or two. But I think my intrinsic connection with Sheets and Giggles owner Colin McIntosh ended up being pretty obvious. And most recently, I was left very inspired and touched by the conversation I had with Samrat Saran, Head of Client Solutions at Neuro-Insight, and the CEO and Co-Founder of 4th Avenue Market, Salim Holder. We discussed the growth, community, and neurological factors involved in creating the 4th Avenue Market e-commerce brand. There’s some really great stuff in that episode!
Are there any podcasts out there that you draw inspiration from? Or what is your favorite podcast to listen to (besides your own)?
I like anyone who takes a risk and who is unapologetically themselves. Recently I had the honor of being a guest on Dropping Bombs, Brad Lea’s killer popular podcast. It’s always fun to be a guest on a show you subscribe to and look up to.
What would you say is your proudest career moment?
My three direct reports at EP now hold three of the four highest level positions at EP. I am proud to have taken part in the nurturing of those individuals. Watching their growth has been highly inspiring.
And my other answer would be, holistically what we’re doing with Radical, one of the fastest growing agencies out there. And how quickly we have become one of the most desirable places to work.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own podcast?
- Consistency consistency consistency. Outline your first 20 shows, create a plan and execute. Don’t stop if you feel people aren’t immediately jumping onboard!
- Find your niche! What makes you or your approach to something different or special? That’s where we all have value, and that’s where podcasts truly shine!
- Don’t worry so much about the technical aspects. You can spend $20 or $20,000 to produce a podcast, but at the end of the day, if you aren’t authentic and engaged with your subscribers it shows through.
Name 3-5 other local leaders/influencers/movers + shakers you’re watching.
- George Hincapie
- Carl Sobocinski
- Mayor Knox White
Interested in more of what Ryan has to say? He’ll be speaking alongside Season 10 finalist of Food Network’s Masterchef, Noah Sims + Nate Tomforde, owner and founder of Pour Taproom and Southernside Brewery on April 29 at a networking event with GVL Hustle. Get your tickets here.