Working in Radio

By Luc Theriault

Radio is one of the most widely used media outlets. Its accessibility in cars, alarm clocks, workplaces makes radio easy to listen to. It is also locally oriented, meaning that while television networks are concentrated in larger communities, employment possibilities exist in radio even in the smallest towns.

Though at first glance, people often see the obvious employment possibility in radio broadcasting -- being an on-air personality, employment possibilities range in many areas.

There are a lot of regular office jobs in radio. These include such things as receptionists, accounting personnel, and administrative assistants.

If you are more of a creative person, why not consider putting your talent to work? The creative department writes the ads we hear on the radio while the production department puts them together. The production department also produces station promos and "splitters", the ad messages you hear promoting a radio station's programs or advantages (You're listening to [city's] Best Music!"

If you like coming up with great ideas and are enthusiastic and energetic, there might also be a place for you in a radio station in promotions. The promotions department is very active in a radio station and in the community. In many cases, they'll write the promos and splitters mentioned above. They'll also plan the radio station's contests and they're the ones you'll see in the community in vehicles with the radio station's name on them often handing out some sort of goodies.

There are lots of interesting jobs at a station. If you like sales, radio sales staff are always selling the commercial spots you hear on the radio. If you like news and current events, you can report for a station. Since radio stations are local, this gives you a great opportunity to interact with your local community and really get to know the area well.

Many colleges offer radio broadcasting courses. Check your local community college to see what kind of courses they offer. Entry requirements vary, so be sure to check out a couple of options. Talk to someone currently working in radio and find out what sort of skills they are looking for, and what schools seem to provide new radio grads with the best training.

The field can be very competitive. Since the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the government department responsible for regulating broadcasting systems in Canada, relaxed ownership rules, more stations are merging together now. Because of this, many jobs have become reduntant due to owners having more than one radio station. It is a tough market to get into, but not impossible.

It is said that you can move up more quickly in smaller markets. Once you've acquired that experience you need, you can then go to the larger market. Those who are truly passionate about radio and those who are willing to work hard, can do well in the industry.

In most cases, especially in the entry-level jobs, salaries are not that high, and when you are starting out, many opportunities are part-time. Higher paying positions are in management, on-air morning show hosts, and sales staff.

If you have the energy, the determination, and the drive to make it in radio, it provides a great opporunity to use your communication skills and your personality.

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