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Radio, TV and Sports Announcer Career, Jobs, and Training Information

Career Highlights for TV, Radio and Sports Annoucers

  • Competition will remain high for announcing jobs
  • Entry-level jobs typically have low salaries but are good for those breaking into the business
  • Internships and any work experience at a college radio station are very beneficial

Radio, TV, and Sports Announcer Career Overview

TV and radio announcers perform many responsibilities both on air and off. They generally announce all of the important information relating to the public, including news, time, commercials, and weather. Often they will even do the necessary writing and research for a certain on-air prompt or discussion. Others perform interviews or commentary for certain public events. Successful announcers are usually quite popular with their listeners and occasionally make public appearances to promote special events.

Announcers on the radio are often referred to as disc jockeys (DJs) that may specialize in a particular area of music. They typically do not make their own choices when selecting music, as this is left up to management teams who prepare talk, music, and commercial schedules. These DJs perform common tasks of on-air interviewing, taking listener requests and managing on-air contests, and commenting on news, traffic and weather.

Newscasters often referred to as anchors, usually specialize in a special interest in news, weather, or sports and work for a larger station. They are heavily involved in the research and interviewing process with all of the parties relevant to an issue.

Smaller stations may use announcers to assume these and other off-air responsibilities, such as transmitter monitoring, commercial sales, program logging, advertisement production, and control board operation. Technological improvements have allowed announcers to assume many of the tasks previously seen as too difficult. In many stations, an announcer performs both these operating and announcing tasks. They are also usually heavily involved with fundraising and promotional efforts.

As a result of technological change, stations have become quite mobile in operation. Many regional stations will operate out of a single office, while others operate overnight without a staff. Instead, they will program from automatic satellite feeds or from pre-recordings.

Announcers are also quite involved in the community. An example is when a sports announcer will appear at a sporting goods store to entertain customers or conduct a sports banquet.

Announcer jobs are not restricted to broadcasting fields. Many work in motion picture production or play music at dances, weddings, restaurants, and clubs. Public address system announcers broadcast information at special performing arts or sporting events.

Announcers can be sure to work in good environment soundproof studios. They can also expect to work odd hours, as many stations broadcast all day. This may include working early-morning or late-night shows.

Announcers often have rigid schedules that may tax heavily on their bodies. The private rewards for many announcers, however, often outweigh the stresses associated with an odd schedule.

Radio, TV, and Sports Announcer Training and Job Qualifications

Announcer jobs are very competitive and most require formal training through either a bachelor’s degree in a related field or training in private technical college. Hiring processes include an evaluation of one’s on-air presence in interviewing and overall delivery. Those hired usually start as researchers or production assistants and are allowed to advance if they demonstrate poise and strength on-air. This may take time, and people rarely start out with an on-air position unless perhaps at a smaller station with an open time spot at an odd time. Beginners can be expected to be equipment operators or interview recorders.

Announcers typically start out at smaller stations in local communities and move on to larger, citywide stations. Advancement may also include becoming a regular show-host. Network employment is very competitive, and those hiring often seek college graduates with years of announcing experience.

Announcers should have proper voice, timing, and grammar abilities to be successful. College programs usually offer vocal quality courses to assist announcers with this. A groomed physical appearance and relevant knowledge of special interest areas, whether it be sports, music, politics, or current events, is of course very important. They should also be computer-savvy and be able to work under on-air pressure—appealing to the audience with a fresh style, personality, and voice.

High school and college students looking at a future in announcing should consider a wide-range of classes in public speaking, English, foreign languages, computers, drama, in addition to maintaining their interests in music and sports or other specialized areas.

Students should look for paid or non-paid internship opportunities at radio or TV stations to gain valuable related experience. Often, college-credit is available for internships at certain companies. Unpaid internships are the standard, even though the Fair Labor Standards Act restricts the amount of work an unpaid intern is allowed to perform. Unpaid internships may often become paid internships that can involve interns in common employee work.

Prospective students should become aware of a school’s reputation in producing adequate skills and candidacy for future job placement. Contacting station managers is usually the best way to find out about a certain school’s reputation.

Radio, TV, and Sports Announcer Job and Employment Opportunities

Announcer positions are highly competitive. Smaller stations are usually known to hire more beginners at a low-salary. These positions are usually reserved for those with some internship or related work experience. Placement for jobs in larger stations within city areas is usually determined by one’s proven track record.

Specialized knowledge in an interest area, such as health, business, or consumer news may qualify one individual over another. This is more likely at a larger station, but is common at smaller stations as well.

Employment levels for announcers are projected to decline over the next eight-year period. This is largely the result of a decline of and consolidation of former stations. However, replacement needs will still exist for spots left by employee transfers or retirement. Unemployment periods are common among stations as they can frequently change in ownership, ratings, or format.

Employment is expected to decline as a result of technological advancement, consolidation of existing stations, and other sources of media entertainment, such as satellite radio and cable TV. A further result of consolidation is the rise in radio syndication—where a program is produced from outside a regional listening area. Digital technology is also causing a rise in editing productivity, thus reducing the roles of announcers in producing and working with off-air material.

Historical Earnings Information

Salaries are typically low for broadcasting announcers, unless they work in larger markets for a major network station. Television and commercial salaries are higher than for those working in radio and public broadcasting.