The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 32,320 radio and television producers and directors are employed in the United States.
Many stations combine the position of radio producer with that of the disc jockey or program director, so depending on the size of the station and market, producers may or may not be able to find a suitable employer.
Due to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, companies can own an unlimited number of radio stations nationwide with an eight-station limit within one market area, depending on the size of the market. When this legislation took effect, mergers and acquisitions changed the face of the radio industry, with automation and networking reducing the number of employees needed by stations. Consolidation of both radio and television broadcasting stations continues to this day.
Radio producers usually start work at radio stations in any capacity possible. After working for a while in a part-time position gaining experience and making connections, a young, dedicated producer will find opportunities to work in production or on-air.
Both experience and a college education are generally needed to become a radio producer. It is best if both your experience and your education are well rounded, with exposure to on-air and off-air positions as well as a good working knowledge of the world in which we live.
Although some future producers begin their first radio jobs in paid positions, many serve unpaid internships or volunteer to help run their college or high school station. Even if this entry-level work is unpaid, the experience gained is one of the key necessities to furthering a career in any type of radio work.
With experience as a disc jockey or behind-the-scenes person, an aspiring radio producer might try to land a position at another station, most likely within a station and format they are used to.
Radio producers are a key link in putting together a radio show. Once they have experience coordinating all the elements that go into a radio production, it is possible to move into a program director position or, possibly in the future, to general manager.
Another way to advance is to move from being the producer of a small show to a larger one, or move from a small station to a larger one. Some producers move into the freelance arena, producing their own shows that they sell to several radio stations.
Tips for Entry
Work on your high school or college radio station to obtain experience.
Visit the following Web sites to learn more about job opportunities for announcers:
Try to land an internship at a radio station.
Apply for producer positions at small radio stations to get your foot in the door.