In addition to a thorough knowledge of the events being covered, sports radio announcers require a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as journalism, broadcasting or communications. On-the-job training is often completed through an internship program. Keep reading to find out more about what it takes to become a sports radio announcer.
Radio sports announcing, or radio sportscasting, is a highly competitive profession. A 4-year degree is required, and master's programs are also available. An internship, related experience or on-the-job training is typically needed. Knowledge of sports is also necessary to be a competitive job seeker in this field.
|Required Education||Bachelor's usually required; master's optional|
|Other Requirements||Internship, experience or on-the-job training usually required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-14% for all television and radio announcers|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$82,730 for announcers in spectator sports|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Sports Radio Announcers
While it's possible to become a sports radio announcer without formal education, completing an undergraduate program at a university, broadcast college or technical school typically benefits those trying to land a job in this competitive field. Popular majors for aspiring sports radio announcers include journalism, broadcasting and communications, which provide students with a basic understanding of the journalism and reporting techniques needed to succeed in sports radio.
Journalism and broadcasting bachelor's degree programs are offered at most major universities around the country, and many schools offer a concentration or separate degree program in sports journalism or sports broadcasting. These programs typically offer 6-8 additional courses beyond a basic journalism degree, including classes in sports writing, information, research and broadcasting.
Prospective sports announcers also might want to consider a graduate program in sports communication, journalism or broadcasting, which could give them an edge in the job market. Master's programs generally take 1-2 years to complete and contain courses like digital sports media, sports journalism law and coverage of professional sports.
Knowledge of Sports
Aspiring sports radio announcers must be knowledgeable about a variety of sports, a skill that isn't necessarily gained through formal education. Experience playing sports or a passion for keeping up to date with current teams, players, statistics, scores and rules at any or all levels can be helpful to prospective radio sportscasters.
Internships and On-the-Job Training
Finally, any student hoping to become a radio sportscaster needs on-the-job training. Some college and universities have campus radio facilities where students can hone their announcing skills. Additionally, most undergraduates will have at least one internship opportunity, which usually will last for one semester or more. Most internships are closely related to the broadcasting profession, but rarely warrant on-air time. Still, experience as a production assistant, researcher or reporter may be looked at favorably by prospective employers.
Career Information for Sports Radio Announcers
The duties of a radio sports announcer vary from station to station. Primarily, announcers are responsible for selecting, writing and delivering sports news. At various times, they must both read from a script and ad-lib, and they may have other obligations, such as announcing commercials and recording public service announcements. Depending on where they are hired, sportscasters may have to fulfill duties from selling ad slots to making community appearances.
Advancement and Salary
A successful career as a radio sports announcer usually requires starting in an off-air job, such as production assistant or researcher, at a smaller station, where employers are more inclined to hire beginners. Radio sports announcers can expect a fairly low salary starting out, but, should they advance to a larger station, the salary will most likely increase.
Television and radio announcers in general had a mean annual wage of $46,410 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, announcers who worked in spectator sports had a significantly higher yearly mean wage of $82,730 (www.bls.gov).
The BLS reported that employment of television and radio announcers in all fields, including sports, was forecast to decline by -14% between the years 2014 and 2024. However, there was a possibility that Internet radio might offer more jobs because of cheaper start-up costs leaving opportunities for additional announcers.
Finding success in sports radio broadcasting often means beginning your career in a series of lower-paying industry jobs, such as a production assistant or researcher. While broadcasting duties vary, a sports announcer should be comfortable with writing and reading from scripts, as well as with ad-libbing.