How to Become a Radio Board Operator: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a radio board operator. See what the education and training requirements are, and learn about the experience you need to advance in your radio industry career. View article »

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  • 0:00 Become a Radio Board Operator
  • 0:47 Career Requirements
  • 1:40 Step 1: Earn a High…
  • 1:57 Step 2: Technology and…
  • 2:45 Step 3: Apply for Jobs
  • 3:15 Step 4: Attain Further…

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Video Transcript

Become a Radio Board Operator

Radio board operators are responsible for operating sound boards and transmitting equipment. The work of a radio board operator requires a strong knowledge of technology and computers, as well as good communication skills and the ability to adapt to changing work environments. Because radio stations typically broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week, radio board operators may work non-traditional schedules, including night, weekend, and holiday shifts. They sometimes work on-location for radio station events or live news broadcasts. Most workers in this field begin their careers at smaller stations so they can gain the experience required to work at larger stations.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; vocational training may be preferred by some employers
Degree Field No specific degree field required or necessary
Experience Entry-level, usually on-the-job training is provided; internships or apprenticeships are available
Key Skills Basic math capability; measuring and computer skills; familiarity with MP3s, stereo, electronics, and audio equipment
Salary $38,341 per year (Median salary as of January 2016 for all board operators)

Source: Payscale.com

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Many skills that a radio board operator needs to be successful can be obtained in high school. Basic math, measuring, and computer skills are necessary in order for a board operator to work complex sound boards, keep time for radio programs, and fix damaged equipment.

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Step 2: Technology and Training

Having experience with electronics and audio equipment will help students become comfortable with heavy technology usage. Radio board operators spend long hours prepping for radio programming by setting up equipment, timing, and recording. Experience with MP3s, stereo equipment, and computers are small ways to build experience for a big job.

Many radio board operators seek out internships and apprenticeships to gain hands-on experience. Opportunities like these are available at local radio stations; further on-the-job training will be given once a candidate has landed a position at a radio station. Radio board operators need to be trained in repairing transmitting and audio equipment, operating sound boards during radio programs, and using programs such as PromoSuite and AudioVault.

Step 3: Apply for Jobs

With a combination of education, technical aptitude, relevant internships, and volunteer experiences, an aspiring radio board operator can build a resume to pursue positions at local radio stations. Networking and references are also extremely important for career advancement in this field. Radio board operators should be ready for rigorous, fast-paced work, long hours, and overtime. The ability to adapt to changing work environments is also important in this position.

Step 4: Attain Further Education

With additional education, board operators can eventually advance into broadcast technician or sound engineering technician positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Broadcasting schools offer degrees and certificates in broadcast engineering technology, sound engineering technology, and similar fields.

Therefore, if considering a career as a radio board operator, it is important to earn a high school diploma, develop math skills, computer skills, and one's overall aptitude with electronics and sound equipment in order to gain an entry-level position with a radio station that has the operator maintaining, programming, and monitoring radio and sound board equipment.

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