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How do I Become a Radio Broadcaster?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 31, 2024
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Radio broadcasters provide information over the airwaves to anyone with a radio and the inclination to tune in. Working as a radio broadcaster can be an interesting career, and there are several ways to approach work as a broadcaster, depending on what type of broadcaster one wants to become. As a general rule, all of the options involve spending some time in school to learn about broadcast journalism and the technology of radio, and undergoing an internship with a radio station to learn about the work in a hands-on way.

People who want to start careers in broadcasting may want to think about what kind of broadcaster they wish to become. A radio broadcaster can work as a sportscaster, weather person, journalist, newscaster, talk show host, disc jockey, and so forth. Smaller markers may offer a radio broadcaster an opportunity to interact with members of the community and get involved in community initiatives, while larger markets can get a broadcaster's name well known, although they may offer fewer chances to interact directly with station listeners. Broadcasters may also opt to work in public radio if they are interested in serving communities.

In order to become a radio broadcaster, it will be necessary to have a high school diploma at a minimum. With a diploma, someone can opt to attend a community college or technical school to get an associate's degree in broadcasting, journalism, or a related field, or he or she can pursue a bachelor's degree in broadcasting. A bachelor's degree will take longer, but it will open up more job opportunities, especially if the student attends a school with a well-known broadcast journalism program.

While training to become a radio broadcaster, it is a good idea to get a job or internship at a radio station to get work experience. Initially, very little time will be spent on air, but the prospective broadcaster can learn about how the equipment works, how to pull a story together, and how a real radio station is managed and run. Many colleges also have radio stations which hire students, offering more opportunities to get on air.

After someone has graduated with a radio broadcasting degree, he or she can apply to work at a radio station. It helps to start out in smaller markets, which tend to be less competitive, and to work up to larger stations and markets. For example, a major radio station in a big city will probably be less likely to hire someone straight out of college, but it would consider an applicant who has worked for several smaller stations and demonstrated skill.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon994969 — On Mar 21, 2016

Broadcasting is a challenging and competitive field, but at the same time, it can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Here is a testimonial from Candy O’ Terry - a student from CSB sharing how the school helped her start her radio broadcasting career.

By truman12 — On Apr 24, 2012

I had never been on the radio or really thought about being on the radio until I went to college. I was walking through the campus in my first semester and I saw an ad calling for DJs to do shows on the college radio station. I thought why not and signed up that day. I was on the radio within the week.

I ended up doing a show for the next four years and even helped run the station for the last two years. After school I got a job on the air at a rock station. College radio was a great way to get experience and experience in this industry can be hard to come by. There are not many places where you can actually sit in front of a microphone and send your voice out over the air. College radio is one place that is open to compete amateurs.

By whiteplane — On Apr 23, 2012

Starting a podcast can be a great way to break into the radio industry. A podcast is basically a radio show, except you can record it in your bedroom and post it online for free. You get all the experience of being on the radio without actually having a job.

I did a podcast for two years, every week, before I finally got a job as a radio broadcaster. When I applied for the job I was able to show them the podcast as evidence that I could do the job. They could hear my voice, hear my interview style, get an idea for the kinds of segments I put together. It was the best resume in the world.

By summing — On Apr 23, 2012

Becoming a radio broadcaster is really all about the voice. In the same way that it is hard to become a television personality if you are not attractive, it is hard to get on the radio if you do not have a strong, pleasant voice.

Luckily, it is easier to cultivate a pretty voice than a pretty face. Working with a voice coach can do a lot to improve the sound and strength of your voice. One way or another, you need to be able to sound good over the air to get on the radio.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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