Radio and Television Announcers
Education and Training Requirements
Although there are no formal educational requirements for entering the field of radio and television announcing, most large stations prefer college-educated applicants. The general reason for this preference is that announcers with broad educational and cultural backgrounds are better prepared to successfully meet a variety of unexpected or emergency situations. The greater the knowledge of geography, history, literature, the arts, political science, music, science, and of the sound and structure of the English language, the greater the announcer's value.
In high school, therefore, you should focus on a college preparatory curriculum. In that curriculum, you should learn how to write and use the English language in literature and communication classes, including speech. Subjects such as history, government, economics, and a foreign language are also important.
It's a good idea to take as many computer science and multimedia classes as possible since announcers at some stations may be asked to update Web sites, develop an active presence on social media, and use databases to manage information.
A strong liberal arts background with an emphasis in journalism, English, political science, or economics is advised, as well as a telecommunications or communications major. Participation in internships and work on your college's radio or television station is also highly recommended.
Once hired, announcers also participate in on-the-job training in which they learn how to operate the station's equipment.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
No certification or licensing is required to become a radio or television announcer.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Those wishing to enter the field of announcing should obtain as much experience as possible in high school and college by participating in internships, working at their school's radio or television station, or by volunteering or working part-time at a local station.
You must have a pleasing voice and personality in order to find success as an announcer. You must be level-headed and able to react calmly in the face of a major crisis. People's lives may depend on an announcer's ability to remain calm during a disaster. There are also many unexpected circumstances that demand the skill of quick thinking. For example, if guests who are to appear on a program do not arrive or become too nervous to go on the air, you must compensate immediately and fill the airtime. You must smooth over an awkward phrase, breakdown in equipment, or other technical difficulty.
Good diction and English usage, thorough knowledge of correct pronunciation, and freedom from regional dialects are very important. A factual error, grammatical error, or mispronounced word can bring e-mails and phone calls of criticism to station managers.
If you aspire to a career as a television announcer, you must present a good appearance and have no nervous mannerisms. Neatness, cleanliness, and careful attention to the details of proper dress are important. The successful television announcer must have the combination of sincerity and showmanship that attracts and captures an audience.
Broadcast announcing is a highly competitive field. Station officials will pay particular attention to recorded auditions of your delivery or, in the case of television, to video-recorded demos of sample presentations.