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Radio Announcer: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for a radio announcer. Get the facts about required education, job duties and potential salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

What is a Radio Announcer?

Radio announcers such as disc jockeys, program hosts, and sports announcers broadcast scheduled programming over the airwaves to local, regional or national audiences. They also provide a commentary on current issues and interview guests to help educate the listeners on relevant issues or specific fields like sports or politics. To prepare for any on-air performance, they need to choose content, research topics, and create a script for their radio programs.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Associate's degree; bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Broadcasting; communications; journalism
Key Responsibilities Playing music; commentary; interviewing guests; public appearances
Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% decline* (radio and television announcers)
Median Salary (2018) $33,220* (radio and television announcers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study to Become a Radio Announcer?

You could earn a bachelor's degree in broadcasting, communications or journalism. Specialized education and training may also be acquired through technical schools or community colleges, where they may offer a diploma or associate's degree program in broadcasting. Keep in mind that radio broadcasting is a very competitive field, and many radio announcers have obtained bachelor's degrees.

A diploma program in broadcasting might include classes in broadcast speech, radio performance and script writing. If you pursue an associate's degree in broadcast technology, you'll take additional courses, such as broadcast programming, reporting and research, broadcast management and broadcast sales, along with humanities and fine arts courses. You can study radio and television announcing, news editing and reporting, broadcast news gathering, sound production and mass communications in a bachelor's degree program.

How Can I Obtain Work Experience?

Prospective employers will expect you to have previous experience before you go on air as an announcer. In preparation for your radio career, take public speaking and drama courses while in high school. Seek out internships at local commercial stations or at your school's campus radio station while in college. These experiences will help you make contacts in the broadcasting industry and gain entry-level employment. You'll also acquire hands-on skills with electronic equipment and information technology.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Your duties will vary based on the particular radio-announcing job you acquire. If you want to play music on the airwaves, become a disc jockey. You can announce songs and provide commentary on music, news, and current events. You'll interview guests and take song requests from listeners. Other duties could include making public appearances and hosting charitable functions as a representative of your station. Disc jockeys aren't limited to working in radio stations, however. Some provide the music at parties, restaurants, and clubs.

As a radio show host, you might anchor programs geared toward topics like sports, politics or medicine. Various duties could include taking calls from the listening audience and creating content for the show. Depending on the size of the radio station, you might operate transmitters and the control board, as well as sell airtime.

What Salary Could I Potentially Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that radio and television announcers earned a median annual salary of $33,220 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Professionals working in spectator sports received a mean annual wage of $106,550, while those employed by universities and colleges made $56,920.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Radio announcers can both entertain or educate their listeners. You may, however, explore other alternative careers that will allow you to focus either on entertaining or educating the public. You may be a broadcast news analyst if you prefer to educate the audience by interpreting news or current events. If you prefer to entertain the public, you may be an actor who portrays characters on performing arts media including film or television. To qualify as a broadcast news analyst, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Actors only need some college to succeed in their roles though they require long-term training.