Radio Personality Salary and Career Facts

Some well-known types of radio personalities are disc jockeys (DJs), show hosts and radio announcers. Continue reading to learn more about job options for radio personalities, what they do, and what training you'd need to embark on this career. Review the job outlook and the salary potential. Schools offering Radio Broadcasting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Radio Personality?

All radio personalities have one thing in common - they provide commentary or make announcements on radio shows, generally as hosts, co-hosts or members of announcing groups. Beyond that, however, their job duties can be as diverse as the stations on your radio dial.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies three main subfields of radio announcing, including disc jockeys (DJs), show hosts and public address (PA) announcers (www.bls.gov). Disc jockeys play and critique music, show hosts offer opinion and commentary on news, politics, sports or similar areas, and PA announcers provide live accounts of sporting or other entertainment events.

What Does Being A Radio Personality Entail?

If you want to be a radio personality, you should be aware that your job duties won't be limited to on-air discussion of the topic in which you specialize. Radio shows require advance preparation. Duties in this area may include brainstorming and researching materials to discuss on the air, writing commentary in advance, or preparing interview questions to ask guests on your show.

In some cases, disc jockeys make lists of songs to play; however, the BLS reports that playlist content is increasingly dictated by station managers. At some stations, announcers are also responsible for tasks such as manning the control boards, fielding calls from listeners and emceeing or appearing at station-sponsored events.

How Can I Prepare To Work In This Industry?

In the broadcasting industry, experience and aptitude for on-air radio announcing are often just as important as education, if not more so. According to O*NET OnLine, a career resource website, radio announcers usually need previous radio announcing experience and some sort of vocational or college degree in broadcasting (www.onetcenter.org).

You can often obtain the industry experience you need by interning at a local radio station or, if you're enrolled in a broadcasting degree program, working at your campus radio station.

You can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in radio broadcasting or broadcast journalism. Programs specifically in radio broadcasting tend to be more widely available through 2-year colleges; 4-year schools typically offer broadcast journalism degrees. These programs teach relevant radio broadcasting skills such as writing and research for broadcasts, radio marketing and promotions, sound production, basic announcing and sports broadcasting.

You may also advance your career by joining a professional association, such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which offers educational seminars and networking events to members (www.nab.org).

What Can I Expect On The Job Front?

Broadcasting positions are often highly in demand, and even experienced entry-level candidates may face stiff competition for positions as radio announcers, hosts or DJs. In some cases, you may need to work as an assistant announcer or production technician before getting a full-time announcing position.

According to the BLS, most radio personalities begin their careers in small broadcast markets, and many eventually ascend to larger stations in big cities. Also, because most radio stations broadcast around the clock, working as a radio personality may require keeping strange hours. Early morning radio shows, for example, are common.

How Much Could I Earn?

The salary information website Payscale.com breaks down the median salaries for radio personalities by exact job descriptions. As of October 2016, Payscale.com reported a national median salary of $35,404 for radio announcers, $45,091 for show hosts and $35,080 for DJs.

The BLS reported that radio and television announcers as a whole made a median annual salary of $30,960 in May of 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts, writers and authors and producers and directors are some of the related careers that require a bachelor's degree. Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts may work for radio, television or other media outlets. They are responsible for reporting on events and stories from the local to global levels. Writers and authors may also work for a variety of media as they produce the written content for things like books, blogs, advertisements and more. Producers and directors manage and oversee all the details of a performing arts production, such as movies, tv shows and plays.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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