How to Advance (Advancement)
Announcers usually begin at a station in a small community and, if they are qualified, may move to a better paying job in a large city. They also may advance by hosting a regular program as a disc jockey, sportscaster, or other specialist. Competition for employment by networks is particularly intense, and employees will need a college degree with at least several years of successful announcing experience if they wish to advance.
Announcers held about 67,400 jobs in 2008. About 51 percent were employed in radio and television broadcasting. Many other announcers were self-employed freelance announcers, who sold their services to networks and stations, advertising agencies, other independent producers, or to sponsors of local events.
Competition for jobs as announcers will be keen because the broadcasting field attracts many more jobseekers than there are jobs. Furthermore, employment of announcers is projected to decline slowly. In some cases, announcers leave the field because they cannot advance to better paying jobs. Changes in station ownership, format, and ratings frequently cause periods of unemployment for many announcers.
Employment of announcers is expected to decline by 4 percent from 2008 to 2018. Improving technology continues to increase the productivity of announcers, reducing the time required to edit material or perform other off-air technical and production work. The ability of radio announcers to broadcast a program live and record a show for another time has eliminated most late-night shifts and allowed multiple stations to use material from the same announcer. Increasing consolidation among broadcasting companies also may contribute to the increased use of syndicated programming and programs originating outside a station's viewing or listening area. The growth of alternative media sources, such as satellite radio, may contribute to the expected decline.
A possible positive area for radio announcers is hybrid digital (HD) radio, which broadcasters hope will increase in the coming years. HD radio offers more channels and could result in higher demand for on-air personalities. There will always be some demand for this occupation, because the public continues to desire local radio and television broadcasting and announcers play a necessary role in bringing it to them.
Some job openings will arise from the need to replace those who transfer to other kinds of work or leave the labor force. Nevertheless, competition for jobs as announcers will be keen because the broadcasting field attracts many more jobseekers than there are jobs. Small radio stations are more inclined to hire beginners, but the pay is low. Applicants who have completed internships and those with related work experience usually receive preference for available positions. Jobseekers with good computer and technical skills also will have an advantage. Large stations will seek announcers who have proven that they can attract and retain a sizable audience, because competition for ratings is so intense in major metropolitan areas. Announcers who are knowledgeable about business, consumer, and health news also may have an advantage over others. Although subject-matter specialization is more common at large stations and the networks, many small stations also encourage it. There will be some opportunities for self-employed DJs who provide music at clubs and special events, but most of these jobs will be part time.
Salaries in broadcasting vary widely, but generally are relatively low, except for announcers who work for large stations in major markets or for networks. Earnings are higher in television than in radio and higher in commercial broadcasting than in public broadcasting.
Median hourly wages of radio and television announcers in May 2008 were $12.95. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.05 and $20.31. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.45, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $36.42. Median hourly wages of announcers in the radio and television broadcasting industry were $12.61.
Median hourly wages of public address and other system announcers in May 2008 were $13.18. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.82 and $21.04. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.51 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33.58.
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