A GLOBAL award-winning programme director who transformed radio stations in the UK and Australia is now spreading his transformative wisdom with a coaching and consulting business in Shotley Bridge.

Owen Ryan worked as a graphic designer in Northern Italy and Slovenia before finding his natural home writing commercials for English regional radio stations.

He was so successful his adverts won global recognition including scooping honours at the New York advertising awards and the Mobius awards in Chicago. He said: “I was particularly proud of one of the adverts I received recognition for as it was around road safety for children. It was effective as I used a Spice Girls song called Goodbye and recorded it with a school choir, matched with the message of how many children were killed on roads every year. I still find that a very moving commercial.”

Working for radio stations made him hungry for new broadcasting challenges and he was appointed Deputy Programme Director at Hallam FM in Sheffield. He was then promoted to run Century FM in the North-East where his responsibilities included the Three Legends football show.

A chance conversation then changed his life dramatically with an opportunity to work on the other side of the world in Australia. He was appointed brand manager for Australia Radio Network (ARN) based in Sydney with a brief to reinvigorate the Classic Hits and Mix brands.

He said: “I knew I had to bring some innovative thinking to both of these brands and used a range of techniques to draw in new younger female listeners in particular. One of the sessions I directed which worked particularly well was to have Leo Sayer telling the story of British music around the Queen’s birthday.”

His success lead to a further promotion when he was asked reinvigorate ARN’s Melbourne station.

“When I arrived in Melbourne it was the biggest challenge of my career as the team didn’t want to change at all.

“To ensure success I ran the station and also took on the executive producer role for the all-important breakfast show. My days were 4.30am – 6.30pm. I nearly burnt out to be honest but within a year the station reached a ten-year high and increased their market share from five per cent to seven per cent with close to 900,000 listeners each week.”

After four years down under, he decided it was time to spend more time with his family so returned to the UK and worked at Bauer City Network running 17 radio stations with a £10m budget and 150 people under his direction.

This experience further honed his management skills and desire for personal growth.

“I had coached and mentored people all my life and decided it was time to run my own business, sharing my knowledge of building winning teams and practices – often against stiff odds. I have an 11 month old son and being my own boss gives me the perfect work life balance.”

Five Minutes with Owen Ryan

Favourite North-East building and why?

The Sage is a work of art. Having lived in Sydney overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge every day, I think the Sage combined with the Tyne Bridge give Circular Quay a run for their money.

What was your first job and how much was the pay?

I was a paperboy and I got £3.50 a week. I was ten and had to get permission from my mum as the ‘legal’ age was 12.

Worst job you’ve had?

When I graduated I worked for a fly-fishing company as Head of Design and marketing, in a very remote part of Yorkshire. The general consensus was ‘you can change anything – as long as everything essentially stays the same.’ It was here I got my first taste of people not willing to embrace change.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?

Probably a beef Massaman curry. I discovered it in Sydney and loved it. Its a one-pot dish that takes about two hours, meaning I can give you my undivided attention.

What would your superpower be?

It may sound trite, but curing cancer, dementia and any chronic/terminal diseases faced by kids.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party?

Alec Baldwin and Tina Fay. I’m a huge ‘30 Rock’ fan and I’d love to hear how they came up with their characters. Oprah – what an amazing story she must be able to share. Sir Bobby Robson. To be able to understand his leadership skills and how he got the best out of so many superstars would be unreal.

Most expensive thing you’ve bought – other than car or house – and how much?

A watch as a wedding present to myself. It was a lot of money.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter?

Not a massive fan of Twitter.

Favourite book?

‘Media Monster’. Its my debut thriller about a radio presenter who goes rogue after being charged with murder. I write in my limited spare time. It’s been ten years in the making. Its rated five-star on Amazon – shameless plug.

When did you last cry?

Two weeks ago. I wanted some advice and my dad was always great at that. Sadly, he passed away in March.

Greatest achievement?

Becoming a parent. Vaughan is the happiest little boy with an amazing personality, and thats a real achievement in my book!

What’s the best piece of advice in business you’ve ever been given?

If you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re probably right. So, believe you can and you’ll find a way.

Favourite animal?

Dolphins. I swam with them in Mexico and my wife still laughs at the pictures. I’m like a little boy on Christmas morning.

Most famous person on your mobile phone?

Peter Beardsley, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Moncur and Jason Manford – although I’m not sure his still works.

What was the last band you saw live?

Coldplay at the Albert Hall. I was lucky enough to be a guest of Warner Music.

Your perfect night in?

Vaughan’s in bed, my wife Kim and I are having a curry and watching a movie.

In another life I would be…

A pilot.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Michael Fassbender. I look nothing like him which is exactly why he’d be perfect.

What irritates you?

Bad people management. It’s so easy to do well and so many people do it so badly.

What’s your secret talent?

My ability to read a room and the people within it.