Becoming a Radio Producer
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Mass communication, journalism, radio production, media arts|
|Key Skills||Detail-oriented; creativity; research, multi-tasking,and interviewing skills; technical and computer experience including sound recording and editing|
|Salary||$36,491 (2016 median for radio producers)|
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
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. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; job postings on Monster.com; job postings on Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Columbia College, Chicago; and the New England Institute of Technology, there are various requirements for this career.
Radio producers hold bachelor's degrees in mass communication, journalism, radio production, or media arts. Key skills for radio producers include attention to detail, ability to multi-task, creativity, research skills, interviewing skills, and technical and computer skills like sound recording and editing. In January 2016, Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for radio producers was $36,491.
Step 1: Earn a Degree
The first step towards becoming a radio producer is to earn bachelor's degree. Most radio producer jobs require a bachelor's degree in 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 Contacts
The second step towards becoming a radio producer is to 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 Portfolio
The third step toward becoming a radio producer is to 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
The fourth step toward becoming a radio producer is to 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.
The steps toward becoming a radio producer include earning a bachelor's degree, establishing industry contacts, creating a portfolio of work, and gaining experience for career advancement.