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Q&A with NHPR Morning Edition host, Rick Ganley

For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments and starting their day off with the latest information.

As host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Ganley brings a mix of the most topical local, national and international news, in-depth conversations, and ideas and commentary to listeners. His reporting for NHPR spans topics from the opioid epidemic and politics to arts and culture, including interviews with national and local candidates for public office as well as artists and musicians. Rick also co-produces music specials on NHPR with Production Manager Emily Quirk.

Before coming to NHPR in January 2009, Rick spent 20 years in commercial music radio, hosting on-air and producing radio commercials at stations in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. He has also penned pieces on music, pop culture, humor and backyard building projects for The Hippo and New Hampshire Magazine.

Rick has occasionally worked with community groups and businesses throughout New England and across the country, voicing ads for radio and television. Because he begins his day at 4 a.m., he is a firm believer in daily naps.

Here, we ask Rick to tell us a little about himself, and his approach to…it all.

What brought you to NHPR? Coming from commercial music radio, what made you think NHPR was the right fit for you?

Commercial rock radio had been slowly fading away, and although I loved hosting mornings and having fun interviewing musicians and comedians, I was tired of writing and producing commercials. I had been a listener of NHPR for years, and a friend at the station mentioned they were looking for a new Morning Edition host. The idea of being involved with meaningful and thoughtful journalism and having a chance to put my own touch on the local elements of the show appealed to me.

What are some of the ways you've noticed radio has changed since you've been in the game, for better or worse, or both?

It felt like bigger stuff 30 years ago; maybe that’s just a part of aging. Of course the media landscape has completely changed, and there is infinite content for the taking at any time. What’s really surprising to me is that given all of that choice, radio is still a big part of the soundtrack in the daily life of so many people. Try to do it well, do it consistently- that’s always been the way to build an audience in any medium.

How do you manage to keep the show relevant?

With the people who you don’t hear; producers and editors. Mary McIntyre has been NHPR’s Morning Edition Producer for several years now, and is responsible for so much of the local coverage and research for the interviews you hear. Our newsroom staff is constantly planning and producing. It takes a team to research and prepare. My job as the host is simply to assemble it and present it in the best light possible.

At the 40th Anniversary Celebration it was mentioned how well you place music beds in your show to enrich the story. How do you pick your music, where do you find inspiration, and do you have any go-to artists for certain themes?

I do take a lot of care in choosing the music I use; first and foremost it has to have the right mood and feel for the story around it. Often the lead in the story or a main idea will trigger a song title in my head. My tastes (and age) often lead toward the stuff I grew up on - rock and pop tracks - but many on staff have contributed music over the years that has made its way into our system. I rely on them to introduce me to songs I wouldn’t know about. My daughters have been a big help too. I love getting a note from a listener saying “I get what you were doing with that track.”

Rick can be heard on NHPR during Morning Edition weekdays from 6 am to 10 am.

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