What's the Average Income of a Radio Host?

Research what it takes to become a radio host. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Radio Broadcasting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Radio Host?

A radio host may present a music or talk show. As a host, you may get to conduct interviews, broadcast the news, provide commentary or introduce hit songs. You also relay any programming information, such as commercial breaks or public service announcements. Radio hosts often help select content for their show and research an array of topics to discuss. Sometimes radio hosts will specialize in a particular subject, like sports, politics or health. They may attend promotional events or broadcast local events to increase public awareness. Depending on their place of work, they may also be responsible for operating audio equipment, recording advertisements and maintaining a social media presence to connect with their listeners. Learn more about this career in the chart below.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Communications or radio production
Job Growth (2014-24) -14% decline for radio and television announcers*
Average Salary (2015) $46,410 for radio and television announcers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Earn as a Radio Host?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), radio and television announcers earned a mean annual wage of $46,410 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that those working as promoters of performing arts, sports and similar events were the highest paid, with an average salary of $85,790 that same year.

The BLS reported that the New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area had the highest paid radio and TV announcers in 2015, with an annual mean wage of $79,520. The top-paying state was Maryland with a mean annual wage of $76,150, according to the 2015 BLS report.

Salaries vary by industry and by years of experience. PayScale.com reported that the salary range for radio show hosts was $23,411-$97,873, as of October 2016. The same report indicated that radio hosts who worked in the field for 0-5 years earned $31,000, while hosts who have spent 10-20 years on the job made an average of $53,000.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a talk show host you'll conduct interviews, discuss various topics and debate issues with guests and callers. As a music show host, you'll introduce songs, comment on music, interview performing artists and read commercial announcements. If you host a sports or news show, you'll provide play-by-play descriptions of the games, announce scores and report current local and national events.

Your job involves both on-air and off-air duties. On-air you may interview guests, read commercial messages or introduce songs. Your off-air duties may include researching and writing scripts, making promotional appearances, producing commercials or coordinating daily programming.

Your responsibilities may depend on the size of the radio station. Larger stations may require you to focus on your on-air duties and promotional events, such as charity fundraisers. Smaller stations may have you assist the production team or help with overall station operations, in addition to covering your on-air duties.

What Training Do I Need?

According to the BLS, most radio hosts have formal training and experience in communications or radio production. Options may include associate or bachelor's degree programs in communications, radio production or media industries. You can take courses in radio studio operations, radio journalism, radio performance and online broadcasting.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related careers that require a bachelor's degree, including reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts; producers and directors; and writers and authors. Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts cover news events at the local, national and international levels to keep their viewers informed. They can work for a variety of media outlets. Producers and directors make the decisions and oversee the details of performing arts productions. Writers and authors develop the written content for all kinds of written works, including books, blogs, songs and advertisements.

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