A college degree is typically required for entry into the field of radio broadcasting. Though an associate degree may be sufficient, many radio stations look for broadcasters with bachelor's degrees. With experience, radio broadcast graduates are qualified to work in live broadcast and studio production roles. Regardless of the type of role radio broadcasters perform, they must be well-versed in studio operations.
One of the most important aspects of radio broadcast training is in-studio experience. Typically, both 2- and 4-year colleges offer internships at local radio stations as well as hands-on skills labs at on-campus radio stations. Volunteer opportunities with non-profit radio stations may allow for additional training.
At the 2-year degree level, radio broadcasting students develop writing and public speaking skills. They study the evolution of radio broadcasting and gain technical skills in radio production and operations. Radio broadcasting undergraduates also learn to use digital sound systems and common industry computer applications. Radio broadcasting training topics include:
- Broadcast management
- Broadcast programming
- Digital sound systems
- Sports broadcasting
- Studio recording
The 4-year radio broadcasting degree is often conferred as a Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television. Radio broadcasting majors learn about mass communication theories and trends, as well as the laws and regulations affecting the radio industry. They study all aspects of radio production, including researching, writing, announcing and producing. Common course topics are:
- Audio production
- Communication ethics
- Electronic media
- Media writing
- Public relations
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Because many larger radio stations tend to require 3-5 years of experience in the field, aspiring radio broadcasting personnel may begin working in smaller stations, which are more willing to take entry-level workers. A radio broadcasting graduate may start out as a production assistant or equipment operator, slowing working their way up to positions as announcers or even producers and directors.
Producers and directors earned a median salary of $68,440 in May 2015, as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts demand for producers and directors, in general, will increase by 9% over the 2014-2024 decade. It was reported that radio and television announcers earned a median salary of $30,960 in 2015. Demand for radio and television announcers is expected to decline by 14% between 2014-2024.
Radio broadcasting professionals can look for workshops and additional training seminars through nationwide and state-level broadcasting associations, such as the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, which often sponsor 2-4 day conferences. Attendees can network, listen to guest speakers or participate in product demonstrations. Some websites also offer brief educational seminars for download, which typically last no more than an hour.
Online resources are available to radio broadcasters and radio production workers. Industry professionals can subscribe to broadcasting e-newsletters or participate in virtual discussion forums. Additionally, some broadcasting websites display articles with content such as legislation information and broadcasting trends.
Radio broadcast training programs are available as associate's and bachelor's degree programs, both of which will include studio practice. Aspiring radio announcers may want to consider that jobs in this field are expected to decline significantly in the coming decade.