Jobs in Radio Broadcasting: Types & Requirements

Being live on air may sound like a cool gig, but there are actually many more jobs in radio than being the guy or girl on the microphone. Learn about the different careers, how to get your foot in the door, and what to expect as far as pay and job growth. Schools offering Radio Broadcasting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Radio Careers at a Glance

To make a living in radio, you could work as a broadcast technician, producer, reporter, announcer, creator of promotional material, or even become a network director. You might get to learn several of those jobs over the course of your career, while doing the hard yards in various positions. Keen to know more? Check out some career options below.

Radio News Presenter Radio Reporter Broadcast Engineer Technician
Degree required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Associate's degree
Educational field Media and communications, Journalism Media and communications, Journalism Broadcast technology, production management
Training required Internships, work experience at college radio stations Internships, related roles in radio On-the-job training, continuing education
Job Growth (2016 to 2026) - 12% (radio and television announcers)* - 10% (reporters and correspondents)* -3% (broadcast technicians)*
Median Annual Salary (2017) $30,310 (announcers in radio broadcasting)* $45,420 (reporters and correspondents in radio and television broadcasting)* $37,520 (broadcast and sound engineering technicians in radio and television )*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Radio Careers Can I Find?

If you like listening to the radio, you would be most familiar with the role of the presenter. Presenters must have superb interviewing skills, handle challenging situations professionally and calmly while live on air, and maintain a strong knowledge of current affairs.

Meanwhile, radio reporters monitor news, research current events, contact and interview relevant talent, attend news conferences, write copy, edit audio, and file news and current affairs stories to tight deadlines.

Broadcast engineer technicians edit audio; set up, operate and maintain equipment for radio broadcasts; record events such as live concerts or debates; and may teach reporters and presenters how to use specific equipment.

Further, you could eventually become a radio producer, selecting, researching and preparing content for broadcast, or later in your career get into management roles to ensure radio stations run smoothly and abide by the ethical guidelines.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Scoring a job in radio usually requires a degree in a related field, such as journalism, communications, or audio engineering. However, other fields of study may also be accepted. If you want to become a health reporter, for example, having a degree in health science can also get you a foot in the door.

What Additional Experience Do I Need?

Radio broadcasting careers are very competitive, and a degree alone often is not enough to find work in the industry. Many media organizations seek job applicants who have already demonstrated self-initiative by getting work experience, completing internships, and volunteering at community radio stations. The easiest way to gain some experience is to get in touch with your local community radio station and ask to get involved.

In addition, listen to different radio programs, go to the websites of your favorite stations and find out what work experience, programs or internships are available, and what skills they are looking for in candidates. And don't be deterred if you don't have success immediately. It is a competitive field and persistence is key.

Where Might I Work?

You could work anywhere from your local radio station to reporting as a correspondent from the Middle East. Radio careers can be very diverse, and if you are employed by a major broadcaster, your work can take you to many places. Even if you have no desire to travel, you might be required to relocate in order to advance your career. Many reporters and presenters start in more remote areas that attract fewer applicants, and once they have gained experience and confidence they advance to larger stations with a greater listenership.

What Income Can I Expect?

Incomes vary widely, depending on work place, role and level of seniority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, the income of reporters and correspondents can range from lower than $22,970 to more than $90,540.

High profile radio hosts tend to get paid in the millions. Forbes reports that the income of the six highest paid radio hosts totaled $315 million in the 12 months leading up to July 2017.

However, the average reporter, presenter, producer or radio broadcast engineer will earn much more modest wages, with the median annual salaries for careers in radio broadcasting ranging from $30,310 for presenters (announcers) to $45,420 for reporters and correspondents working in radio and television.

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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