How to Become a Radio Broadcaster in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become a radio broadcaster. Learn about salary, employment outlook and degree requirements to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Radio Broadcaster?
Radio broadcasters, also known as radio announcers, provide information and entertainment through the medium of radio and may work with a local, national or international audience. There are a wide range of interests that radio broadcasters may cater to, hosting shows and carrying out interviews in fields such as music, politics or sports. Radio broadcasters need to have extremely strong verbal communication skills but should also be competent carrying out interviews, researching and choosing appropriate topics of entertainment, and operating the necessary studio equipment. Radio broadcasters may start their careers by earning a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree; however, a bachelor's degree is the most common education. Alternatively, they can learn through on-the-job training.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Broadcasting, journalism, communications|
|Key Skills||Speaking, writing, computer literacy|
|Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)||-7% (for all radio and television announcers)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$33,220 (for all radio and television announcers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is a Radio Broadcaster?
As a radio broadcaster, you are the voice of a radio station, introducing songs, reporting news, providing ad-lib commentary and taking requests from listeners. At some smaller stations, you'd also be responsible for such wide-ranging tasks as staffing the control board and selling advertisements. In some cases, you may write or revise the content for your broadcast. You could also interview guests and moderate community events to promote your radio station.
Step 1: Research What to Expect
You can expect high competition for available broadcaster positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of radio and television announcers is expected to see a decline of seven percent from 2018-2028, partly due to the rise in technology and consolidation of radio stations. You might have a better chance at landing an entry-level job at a small radio station, especially if you possess technical skills and proficiency with computers. You could have to work unusual hours for early-morning programs or late-night shows.
Step 2: Gain Experience
You can take advantage of opportunities available while you're in high school, such as taking public speaking classes or doing announcements for your school's radio station. If your high school doesn't have a radio station, you could gain valuable experience trying to start one with assistance from an organization such as the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. You can also volunteer with local radio stations for additional preparation.
Step 3: Earn a Degree in Broadcasting
While you can find a certificate or associate's degree program in radio broadcasting, completing a bachelor's degree program in broadcasting, communications or a related field may give you an advantage. You'll take coursework in announcing, production programming, communication law and electronic media. You'll learn how to perform public relations and write for radio broadcasting. These programs might also include hands-on experiences at radio stations to help you learn practical performance skills.
Step 4: Complete an Internship
Since much of the skill involved in radio broadcasting is learned on the job, you can demonstrate work experience to prospective employers by completing an internship. Many bachelor's degree programs incorporate internships through the campus station or nearby businesses. As an intern, you may not get much, or any, on-air time, but you can learn about the behind-the-scenes station operations and gain networking opportunities with people in the industry.
Step 5: Establish Your Reputation
Once you land an entry-level job, you can prove yourself by showcasing your technical skills and on-air personality. There might not be much room for advancement at smaller stations, but you may be able to move to a higher-level job at a larger station by demonstrating that you can attract listeners. You can build your reputation by working on your announcing and performance skills to cultivate and keep a sizable audience. You may also help with your career development and furthering your networking opportunities by joining the National Association of Broadcasters.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
For those who are interested in working in broadcasting, there are many careers similar to becoming a radio broadcaster. If communicating information to a large audience is appealing, consider becoming a journalist or news reporter, a position that requires researching and formatting news stories for the general public. Broadcast news analysts also report on current events, but these professionals generally have more experience in their field and offer commentary and opinions as well as factual information. If the technological side of broadcast appeals, you may want to become a producer and learn how to conceptualize, organize and execute every aspect of broadcast media. Like radio broadcasting, all of these career paths are open to students who complete a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or a similar field, such as journalism or communications.