Radio Announcer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Radio announcers hold many different broadcasting positions, from disc jockeys to news announcers to talk show hosts. Although there are typically no formal education requirements to enter this profession, a degree in radio broadcasting may prove helpful.
Radio Announcer Job Description
The nature of this job usually varies depending on the radio show's format and primary focus. News announcers read scripted summaries of the major news stories, sports announcers call the game's play-by-play and provide color commentary, and talk show hosts will frequently speak their mind without scripted material. DJs typically need to have a playlist ready, as well as provide comments regarding songs and bands.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in radio and television announcing was expected to rise 7% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). This below-average growth was due to a number of factors, including smaller radio audiences, technological advancements and the merging of broadcasting companies. Competition for the jobs that were available should be quite intense.
The earnings of radio announcers can vary greatly, depending on market size and listener base. As of 2012, the mean salary of radio and TV announcers was $41,860, according to the BLS. Nevada and Massachusetts were the highest-paying states, offering workers mean yearly salaries that were over $70,000. Performing arts companies and spectator sports were the top-paying employers for radio and TV announcers, paying mean salaries of approximately $100,000. The radio and television broadcasting industry, however, provided professionals with a mean wage of $40,140 per year.
The main duty of radio announcers is to present clear, informative and entertaining information to their audience. This often requires announcers to prepare for their broadcasts in advance in areas such as topic research, fact-checking and script or show outline preparation. Announcers and DJs may also have to compile song lists and prepare for personal interviews.
Depending on the size of the radio station, announcers may have additional duties. For smaller operations, an announcer may be in charge of some of the technical aspects of the show, such as working the control board, keeping the programming logs or answering the phones. At larger stations, announcers may be expected to make public appearances or help market products on their show.
Although no formal education is usually required for announcer positions, the stiff competition for these jobs might make it useful to earn a college degree. Broadcasting degrees are offered at the associate's and bachelor's levels at a few public and private schools. There are also certificate programs available. Coursework typically includes broadcasting fundamentals, advertising techniques and radio production practices.
Some jobs may require experience working in radio broadcasting. Many educational programs include a practicum at the school's radio station. Also, many radio stations offer internships for those interested in entering the business.
Depending on the type of radio show, specialized knowledge or experience may also be required. Announcers in sports broadcasting often need a strong background in the sport they will be presenting. DJs may need a background in the music industry, and talk show hosts have to be knowledgeable in areas such as current events, politics and pop culture.
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