Radio Broadcaster: Career Summary, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for a radio broadcaster. Get the facts about job duties, career prospects and required education to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Radio Broadcasting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Radio Broadcaster?

As the on-the-air voice of a radio station, a radio broadcaster may conduct interviews, play songs or read news and weather reports. They will also announce any station programming information, breaks for commercials and public service announcements. They may be required to research topics for discussion during their show, provide commentary for community events on the radio or make promotional appearances at various kinds of events. Radio broadcasters will also need to know how to operate studio equipment. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Training Required Internship
Education Field of Study Communications, Journalism, Broadcasting
Key Responsibilities Play songs, read news reports, and schedule commercials; attend community events
Job Growth (2014-2024) -14% for radio and television announcers*
Median Salary (2015) $30,960 for radio and television announcers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Duties as a Radio Broadcaster?

Your main responsibility is to provide your voice on the air, but your other duties can depend largely on what format your radio station uses. For example, at a music station you'll typically play a set list of songs and commercials, with short breaks for traffic reports, weather, news and your own commentary. Occasionally, you may also conduct interviews and take listener requests.

At a news station, you'll primarily read news copy and play commercials. On a talk station, you'll host a show consisting of banter, commentary, interviews and calls from listeners. Some talk shows are built around your personal and general interests as a host, while others specialize in politics, sports or other topics. Other duties include announcing your station's call letters, selecting program content in conjunction with station management, updating the station's website and attending promotional and civic events.

What Are My Job Prospects?

You're likely to encounter intense competition for any position in this industry. Station consolidation, improvements in technology that enable content to be used on many stations and competition from satellite radio have reduced the demand for broadcasters. Meanwhile, the supply of interested candidates for broadcast positions has grown. As a beginner, you may have a better chance of finding work at a smaller station were the pay is lower. Your prospects for advancing to a better-paying job at a larger urban station often depend on your ability to attract and retain an audience.

Figures for radio broadcasters alone weren't available, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 42,300 people were employed as radio and TV broadcasters in 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected a 14% decline in employment for radio and television announcers from 2014 to 2024. Estimated figures don't account for broadcasters who were self-employed. As of May 2015, the median annual salary of radio and television announcers was $30,960.

What Type of Education Would Help Me?

Cultivating a diversity of skills and interests is one way to prepare for a position in a diverse broadcasting market. Consider taking high school courses in speech, drama, English and computers. Volunteer with your school's radio station or seek out internships at local radio stations.

Many broadcasters have a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or communications. Broadcasting programs train you to operate computers, mixing boards and other equipment used in radio and TV production. Courses also cover broadcast writing, audio production, live announcing and broadcast history.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several options for alternative careers that require a bachelor's degree. Producers and directors create various performing arts productions to entertain or inform an audience. Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts are similar to radio broadcasters in that they inform the public about news and stories. However, they can work in a variety of media forms, including television, radio or newspaper. Writers and authors produce written content for things like advertisements, songs, books or scripts.

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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