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Become a Radio Producer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a radio producer. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the field of mass communication.

Should I Become a Radio Producer?

Radio producers select and prepare audio content for broadcast on radio shows. Some of their job duties include operating the broadcast soundboard, recording and editing interviews, and writing broadcast scripts. The job includes a good deal of tight deadlines, time constraints and stress. Irregular work hours are common. Radio producers can work for news programs, documentaries or music shows.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Mass communication; journalism; radio production; media arts
Key Skills Detail-oriented; multi-tasking; creativity; research; interviewing skills; technical; computer; sound recording and editing
Salary (2015) $36,608 per year (Median)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Payscale.com; Monster.com (Job postings found in October, 2012), Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Columbia College Chicago, New England Institute of Technology

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Most radio producer jobs require a bachelor's degree in either audio arts, mass media, radio production or journalism. These degree programs are often offered through a school's college of communication arts and mass communication. These 4-year programs offer courses in media law, electronic media performance, radio and audio production, audio engineering and writing for the media arts.

Step 2: Establish Industry Contacts

Seek out opportunities to work in radio production as early and as often as possible. Most jobs in the field require prior production experience, and the best way to gain it is through internships. Interns may learn skills such as researching, voicing, interviewing and audio editing, key stills in establishing a career in radio production.

Step 3: Create a Portfolio of Work

Begin producing radio programs right away, focusing on a specific area of interest i.e. news, documentaries or music. The work you produce work is more important than your resume. The programs in your portfolios can later be shown to potential employers. Some school programs may allow students to create radio projects using state-of-the-art computer programs. Most public radio stations offer public access radio shows and are a good production resource for growing your portfolio.

Step 4: Gain Experience for Career Advancement

Networking and producing consistent high-quality work is key to career advancement for radio producers. There is significant job competition in larger radio markets; look for entry level job openings in small towns and markets. Once you've gained experience, established industry contacts through internships and produced a usable portfolio of work, you can advance to more senior production positions within a station, or move to larger, more lucrative markets. Employers often look for producers experienced in a specific topic or format; maintaining genre focus also expands career advancement opportunities.

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