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How Can I Begin a Career in Radio Broadcasting?

By Garry Crystal
Updated May 23, 2024
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Radio broadcasting is one of the largest sectors of the media industry. There are many different jobs available in radio, and the competition in the industry is fierce. If you intend to start a career in this field, there are a few ways to get your foot in the door. Often, you can get experience working on a college radio station, although many local stations have jobs available. You'll likely have to work your way up from the bottom, so be prepared to put in the time and effort you need.

There are many educational courses designed with radio broadcasting specifically in mind. Many communications and media studies classes include radio as part of the qualification. These courses are designed to provide an understanding not just of the on air aspect of the field, but also of the technical side.

Many radio courses can show you how to produce your own radio show. They will train you in all aspects, from editing to writing your own scripts, and can teach you about things like market audiences and voice over techniques. A media qualification is extremely useful for gaining the radio training that employers usually look for.

Another way to kick start a radio career is to research and contact your local radio station. If you manage to get your foot in the door locally, you will gain valuable experience. You can work unpaid until you feel you are ready to apply for a permanent position; volunteer work will show that you are serious, and it will often be looked upon favorably when you apply for jobs.

There are many job opportunities within local radio, although many are in sales and marketing. The ability to sell airtime is a very valuable skill, and any sales training you have will come in handy when applying for this kind of position.

If you have your heart set on having your own radio show, be prepared to start at the bottom. It's often a good idea to make your own demo tape to send to the station you're interested in working for, since it will not only give producers an idea of your voice, but also of your confidence and abilities. Make your tape or compact disc sound different from anything that can already be heard on the station. This will give you a fresh appeal, but make sure you are not too radically different or you may alienate your audience.

If you are given the chance of an interview at your local station, make them aware that you are willing to do almost anything, within reason. Weather links, news bulletins, or shows that air in the very early morning hours will give you much needed experience. Make no mistake; even these jobs are much sought after for that foot-in-the-door experience.

Script writing for radio is another way to break into broadcasting. Good quality scripts are much in demand by stations, and they are a good way to make your name known.

The age of the Internet has ushered in many new opportunities for radio broadcasting, and the technology is now available to make and broadcast your own radio show from home over the Internet. Make sure you check out copyright laws before doing so, however, and any licensing fees that you may be required to pay if you play music. Your own radio show may be heard by people across the world and can be an excellent way to show your talents.

In your quest for radio industry expertise, don't overlook the value of a good career test for adults. This diagnostic tool could pinpoint areas where your interests and skills align with specific radio broadcasting roles. Whether it's on-air presenting, production, scriptwriting, or marketing, a career test could illuminate your hidden strengths and guide your trajectory. From college students exploring media studies to professionals seeking a career switch, everyone can benefit from this insightful tool, ensuring you're on a path where your passion meets your potential. A well-chosen career test for adults might just be your secret weapon in the competitive world of radio.

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Discussion Comments
By JBiggs — On Feb 24, 2017

To: anon24147 - My name is Jeff, and l work in L.A. at ESPN L.A. 710 and NBC Sports Radio. the Broadcasters Mentoring Group and the Sportscasters Mentoring Group are terrific. I have mentored for both, and they are truly the best thing out there. I wish they had been around when I got started! The only thing that was available was college class, with a teacher that was completely out of touch with the industry. And there was also a one week sportscasters camp. That was it! Nothing beats hands on, weekly training, at an actual radio station! It's the best. I can't recommend it enough.

By anon291185 — On Sep 13, 2012

I've had a bit of work experience at a local radio station, editing previous shows, co-presenting a couple of shows, and even an interview, and it is quite rewarding to do. I personally found it to be very fun, particularly presenting.

Where I went, it was very much "in at the deep end", as I presented for half an hour in the first two hours I was there. It's fantastic to do, and you get the feeling that what you're doing is worthwhile.

By StreamFinder — On Sep 06, 2010

What exactly do radio broadcasting courses cover? I'm looking into different schools of journalism, and would like to know if radio broadcasting classes are really worth taking, or if it's more of an experience-based thing.

Thanks for your input.

By pharmchick78 — On Sep 06, 2010

What would be some good tips for somebody looking to get into Christian internet radio broadcasting?

I have not attended a radio broadcasting school, but would really like to start a podcast or online radio show with a Christian focus.

Can someone advise me?

Thank you!

By rallenwriter — On Sep 06, 2010

I was fortunate enough to intern at NPR, and I can tell you, radio broadcasting is fantastic, but also kind of scary to get into.

I mean, it's a career where you really start by getting thrown into the deep end.

Even if you attend a radio broadcasting college (which I didn't), then you still need to be able to quickly assimilate your radio broadcasting training: equipment, software, and writing knowledge are a huge plus.

In fact, I wrote scripts for weeks before I ever went on the air, and in retrospect, that was probably really good. By writing the scripts you get a feel for how many words you can comfortably say in a minute, and how to say things in a concise, but not terse, manner.

However, hard work aside, it really is great fun -- I would highly recommend this as a career to anybody with journalistic leanings.

By anon24147 — On Jan 08, 2009

I've heard good things about broadcasting apprenticeships from a radio dj and a few talk show hosts. Can you address how these may be better than traditional broadcasting schools?

More specifically, can you tell me anything about the Broadcasters Mentoring Group? Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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