How to Become a Broadcaster in 5 Steps

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in broadcasting. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and salary information. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Broadcaster Do?

Broadcasters research topics and stories, write scripts and present the latest news, music, sports and other information via radio and television. They also conduct interviews, either live or recorded, to inform or educate their audience about current events and other significant topics on various fields, including politics and the economy. Broadcasters analyze and interpret information to help their audience better understand any relevant issue, so they need to be up-to-date with industry trends and current events.

Look over the table below for an overview of some of the career options available in this profession.

Reporter Analyst Announcer
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree High school diploma; bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications Journalism, communications Communications, journalism, broadcasting
Key Skills Perseverance, communication skills, endurance, interpersonal skills Perseverance, communication skills, endurance, interpersonal skills Interpersonal skills, investigation skills, perseverance, writing skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) -8% (for reporters and correspondents)* -13%* -14% (for radio and television announcers)*
Median Salary (2015) $36,360 (for reporters and correspondents)* $65,530* $30,960 (for radio and television announcers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Broadcaster?

A broadcaster is a communications professional who works in the radio and television industry as a journalist or an announcer. The title of 'journalist' may further be divided into reporters, correspondents or analysts. Your duties as a reporter or correspondent include the following: investigating crimes, human interest stories or disasters; arranging interviews with witnesses or experts; determining the focus, structure and length of stories; researching, writing and reviewing story copy; and delivering stories on location and in the studio.

As an analyst, you might select stories and events for deeper analysis and interpretation, develop and organize your perspective on those stories and present your observations on air. As an announcer, you read news stories and program schedules, interview guests, lead panel discussions or provide commentary at live events.

Step 1: Prepare in High School

High school media classes can help you gain familiarity with the process of researching, editing and presenting a story aurally or visually, especially if your school supports a radio or TV station. Volunteering at a school radio or TV station can also enable you to begin assembling a demo reel, which you can use when applying for jobs or to college. If you apply to college, a diploma or GED is typically an admission requirement.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is helpful when seeking work in the highly competitive broadcast industry. Data for 2016 from O*Net OnLine show that around 82% of reporters, 75% of analysts and 55% of announcers had a bachelor's degree. Relevant degree programs are available in broadcast journalism and communications with a broadcasting or radio and television emphasis. Broadcasting programs explore the technical aspects of production and examine the various formats of radio and TV shows, including how they've evolved over time and how the medium influences and is influenced by culture.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Volunteering and participating in an internship are two possible methods of gaining experience. In either instance you're likely to be assigned production assistant duties, which range from helping set up or take down equipment to clerical support. You gain the opportunity to observe station operations day-to-day and build a network of contacts. Internships may be part of the curriculum in some bachelor's degree programs, or you could arrange one through your school.

Step 4: Pursue a Job

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014 an estimated 49,300 people worked as reporters and correspondents, 5,100 worked as analysts and 42,300 worked as radio and TV announcers. Figures don't include self-employed freelancers. From 2014-2024, the BLS projects 45,100 people will hold jobs as reporters and correspondents, both employed and self-employed, 4,500 will be working as analysts and 36,300 as radio and TV announcers. All of these numbers represent a decline in employment. Competition is most intense in large markets. You're likely to have an easier time finding a position at radio or TV stations in a smaller market. As of May 2015, you could have earned a median annual salary of $36,360 as a reporter, $65,530 as an analyst and $30,960 as an announcer.

Step 5: Advance Your Career

Your advancement is a matter of accumulating experience and demonstrating talent. If you're starting as a reporter at a small radio or TV station you can try to move horizontally into a similar position in a larger market or vertically into a position as an announcer, DJ or analyst. Specializing as a sportscaster or in particular beats such as science, medicine or business are also possibilities. As an announcer or analyst you may also try to move from a smaller to a larger market, or become a station manager or program manager if administration interests you.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are into communications, but not certain if you want to be a broadcaster, you may explore other related careers in journalism or in public relations. You can be a writer, an editor or a public relations specialist. To qualify, you need to have a bachelor's degree and a skill set similar to that of a broadcaster, including skills in writing, interpersonal communication and interview. While writers create content for advertisements, magazines and other types of media, editors review and revise content for publication to ensure accuracy and consistency. A public relations specialist, on the other hand, creates content or material that enhances the public image of any individual or entity.

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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