Get a Mentor to Learn how to be an Announcer or DJ
For those interested in learning a radio career, as a DJ or announcer, many have found they learn more when the to learn by doing, and when the get a mentor in the radio profession who can teach the basic skills required in a real job at a radio station.
DJs need to learn how to perform many duties, both on and off air. It's often their job to announce important information to the public such as the news, time, commercials, traffic and weather. They also must do research and writing for on air chatter. Announcers also often perform interviews.
For those interested in learning the career, many students have found that it is better to "learn by doing," via a mentor in the radio profession that helps them learn by actually doing the job. Mentors can teach the basic skills required in a real job at a radio station. Many times, students also get some on-air experience.
Announcers and radio DJs are often popular with listeners and so they sometimes make public appearances to promote sponsors at special events. DJs who do on-air interviewing, talk to listeners and manage on-air contests as well as comment on the news. Anchors and newscasters usually specialize in the news, weather, or sports, and are very heavily involved in the research and the interview process.
Those who work for a smaller station often have additional off-air responsibilities such as transmitter monitoring, commercial sales, advertising production, program logging, and control board operation, and that's not including fundraising and promotional events.
Recent technological improvements have allowed announcers to assume many of the tasks previously seen as too difficult since stations have become more operationally mobile. Some regional stations operate out of a single office, while others work overnight with a skinny staff, using pre-recorded programs or feeds from automatic satellites.
Many times, DJs and announcers must get involved in their communities. Just as sports announcers must appear at sporting goods stores to entertain customers, news announcers often show up at local community events.
This field isn't just limited to broadcasting because many announcers work in motion picture production. People can also get a job as a public address systems announcer to broadcast information at special sporting or performing arts events. Although some announcers get to work in a good environment with soundproof studios, they often are required to work odd hours.
Most jobs require formal training. You can always spend more money through either a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or training in a private technical college, but many students believe the best way to learn is to get a mentor who is a radio announcer through a mentorship program. The hiring process for a radio announcer includes an evaluation of the person's on-air skills.
Starting jobs include researchers or production assistants that can advance if they demonstrate the right skill sets, which might take time. People rarely start out with an on-air position unless they go to a smaller station with an open time spot. Beginners are often interview recorders or equipment operators. DJs and radio announcers often start out at smaller stations in local communities and move on to larger stations in bigger cities.
Those hiring at the network level often seek college graduates with years of announcing experience, and they must have a great voice, good timing, and much more. They need to be computer-savvy and be able to work under on-air pressure, appealing to the audience with a fresh style.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Writer Kristin Gabriel works with the Los Angeles radio school known as the Radio Connection, Inc., a fully accredited academic institution certified by the National Private Schools Accreditation Alliance. The school provides educational apprentice programs for the film, radio, television and the music recording industries in more than 100 cities in 50 states. The Radio Connection school provides the entertainment industry with graduate apprentices.