Ryan Seacrest, featured in the December 2013 SUCCESS cover story on newsstands today, is a beast in the broadcast industry. The 38-year-old can be heard daily on his nationally syndicated radio shows On Air with Ryan Seacrest and the American Top 40 that draw 20 million listeners per week. For 12 seasons he has hosted American Idol and regularly hosts E! network shows and events, as well as producing a meaty handful of TV series, both reality and scripted. He has hosted NBC’s Million Second Quiz and ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, which are just a few of the many gigs that contribute to his net worth of $200 million, and he still aspires to achieve more. Seacrest is building the ultimate entertainment empire one interview (and job) at a time.
SUCCESS explored the secret to his budding empire in the December 2013 issue, revealing how he keeps pace with his hectic schedule (hint: it’s in an ugly cooler) and his surprising secret to time management. In this web exclusive, SUCCESS explores how Ryan Seacrest is the master of interviews.
1. He gives his all.
Whether he’s on the red carpet looking suave in a black tuxedo or chatting ever so casually with a hot celeb on the radio, Seacrest always steps up to the plate. His alarm is probably buzzing before most of us press snooze and his bed is probably still empty when we are already drooling on our pillows, but that doesn’t slow him down. If he’s tired, he doesn’t show it. If he’s distracted, well, we would have no idea—and he probably isn’t because he gives everything his all, all the time.
“I try to ‘do what I’m doing,’ if that’s an expression. I think that’s a good way to live your life. Do what you’re doing,” he said in a Men’s Fitness interview.
2. He knows the power of silence.
Early on in his career, Seacrest learned an important lesson from Dick Clark: shut up and let the action tell the story. Although the legendary TV host’s advice was pointed at Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it trickles down to Seacrest’s other broadcast ventures, like radio and TV interviews.
Seacrest’s interviewees notice and appreciate this skill. “He knows how to listen. He doesn’t interject himself,” says Larry King in the SUCCESS cover story. “He knows that the show and the guest are more important than him, which a lot of talk show hosts don’t know. He doesn’t use the word ‘I’ a lot, and that’s part of what makes him so good.”
3. He’s a respectable dude.
Raise your hand if you can say you’ve never, even fleetingly, had respect for Seacrest. Most hands would, and should, stay down. Even if you’re not a celeb gossip junkie or a diehard Idol fan, you know him—and one reason his face is plastered, like, everywhere, is because people like the guy.
John Tesh, in an NPR pop culture segment, explains why Seacrest is a good host. “He’s a mechanic on the radio. He knows how to get in and out of phone calls,” Tesh says. “He knows how to be funny without being disrespectful.”
4. He’s got intuition.
We already know Seacrest is a super listener—but he’s also super sensitive to what people want. He knows television gold when he sees it. Like his former agent, Adam Sher, says in SUCCESS, “He sees these people that have made it and captivated the world, and he’s been able to develop a touch for what people respond to.”
He pays attention to what tops the charts in popularity, and he takes his research and mental notes to the interview to ask the right questions to get the answers we desperately want to know about someone.