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Radio Career Opportunities

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Though radio announcers are the most recognizable jobs in radio, radio stations hire both on–air workers and production workers. Radio stations run as any other business: they have financial accountants, sales people, marketing staff, and upper–level managers. Due to budget constraints, smaller radio stations often consolidate these various jobs into one position. However, smaller radio stations are lessening ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 enabled larger radio stations to purchase up to eight smaller radio stations. Because of this law, one can find multiple AM and FM stations operating at a single broadcasting facility.

Radio sales jobs (also known as radio account executive jobs or advertising sales jobs) form one branch of widespread radio-station jobs. These jobs require the least amount of radio knowledge than any other type of radio-station job. What they do require is a college education centered on advertising and past sales experience. Specifically, these jobs require the salesperson to sell radio time to qualified advertisers who, in exchange, finance the radio station. At most radio stations, sales agents operate locally, selling radio time to advertising representatives from local businesses and organizations. These sales representatives exert huge influence on a station’s financial sustainability because of their ability to procure sales revenues.

After they sell radio time to a company, sales agents collect a well-rounded profile of the company to determine the appropriate radio advertisement. For instance, they gain insight into the company’s products or services, customer demographics, and economic accessibility. The sales agent then drafts an advertising proposal, which contains sample advertisements and the projected costs of each, to the company representative. If the representative agrees with the proposal, he or she signs a contract with the radio station that stipulates payment to the station and scheduled airtime, among other conditions.

Sales agents who work in radio earn an average of $41,000 per year, which includes their bonuses and commissions. Their salaries can increase as they amass a solid sales record and win more advanced positions. In the next decade, radio sales representatives will have little trouble finding work as long as they have a bachelor’s degree, excellent communications skills, strong sales strategies, and substantial experience.

Other radio station jobs include assistant producers. Assistant producers are often entry-level radio jobs for those fresh out of college or a technical-school program. Their tasks involve operating audio equipment, performing sound engineering, doing statistical or demographical research for the station, performing administrative support, and creating schedules. Once they have proven to adeptly perform those tasks, assistant producers may be promoted to producers. Radio producers engineer the creative process of producing new shows or upgrading existent shows. They determine the show’s sufficient equipment (especially digital equipment) and staff, hire production staff, coordinate radio schedules, and develop a station’s website.

Entry-level radio production jobs pay an average of $34,000 per year. As these jobs ascend to more managerial positions, they reap an average salary of $43,000. National radio stations typically pay more per year, but these positions are many times more competitive than their smaller-station counterparts.

Radio-producer jobs are projected to grow faster-than-average through 2016. Sound engineering jobs, which require technical proficiency in audio technology, will especially proliferate. In contrast, radio-operation jobs will fall as computerized technology replaces menial management of radio control boards and audio calibration.

By far and large, radio announcers are the most publicized radio jobs. Announcers often go through intensive broadcasting education and work-study internships before they secure entry-level announcer positions. Mainly, they act as disc jockeys (DJs) by playing a predetermined music list and taking special listener requests. Other announcers host radio shows, do public-service announcements, announce weather reports, and do sports commentary. Though they all have radio broadcasting training, they may also have training in subjects on which they are commentators. For instance, an announcer who hosts a radio show on politics will likely have majored or minored in political science along with majoring in broadcasting.

Radio announcers who work for metropolitan radio stations that broadcast nationally will receive the highest earnings. Prior to landing these jobs, these announcers have typically completed a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, along with practical experience through announcement work at their college radio station. They also have paid their dues at internships or entry-level work at local radio stations, for which they received high recommendations from their supervisors. Moreover, they have worked with radio computer applications and can operate the newest radio technology, which is often digitally based.

The average salary for radio announcers is $12 per hour. Those who work for urban radio stations may make up to $33 per hour, especially if they are well experienced. Unlike other radio jobs, radio-announcer jobs’ profitability is based, as much on the natural ability of the announcers (such as their wit, improvisational skills, and charismatic speaking voice) as it is diligent work.
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