Announcers present music, news, and/or sports and may provide commentary or interview guests about these topics. Some act as a master of ceremonies (emcee) or disc jockey (DJ) at weddings, parties, or clubs.
Many announcers work in radio and television studios. Others work for sports teams or are self-employed. Many announcers work only part time.
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Radio and television announcers present a variety of information and entertainment such as music, news, sports, current events, the weather, the time, traffic updates, and commercials. They interview guests and moderate panels or discussions on their shows, as well as announce station programming information, such as program schedules and station breaks for commercials, or public-service information.
Announcers are expected to be up to date on current events or a specific field, such as politics or sports, so that they can comment on these issues during their programs. They may research and prepare information on these topics before appearing on-air. In addition, announcers have scheduled guests on their shows and work with producers to develop other creative content for their programs.
Announcers may also be responsible for other aspects of television or radio. They may operate studio equipment, sell commercial time to advertisers, and produce advertisements and other recorded material. At many radio stations, announcers do much of the work that editors and broadcast technicians used to do, such as broadcasting programming, commercials, and public-service announcements.
Many radio and television announcers increasingly maintain a presence on social media networking sites. Establishing a presence allows them to promote their stations and better engage with their audiences through listener feedback, music requests, or program contests.
Public address system and other announcers typically do the following:
Educational requirements for announcers vary. Radio and television announcers typically have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications, along with work experience gained from working at their college radio or television station. Public address announcers typically need a high school diploma. Although public address announcers do not require any formal education beyond a high school diploma, radio announcers should have a bachelor’s degree to be competitive for entry-level positions. Television announcers typically need a bachelor’s degree in programs such as communications, broadcasting, or journalism.
Post-secondary broadcasting programs offer courses, such as voice and diction, to help students improve their vocal qualities. In addition, these programs prepare students to work with the computer equipment and software that they would use in the radio and television studios. Public address system and other types of announcers typically need short-term on-the-job training upon being hired. This training allows these announcers to become familiar with the equipment they will be using during sporting and entertainment events. For sports public address announcers, training may also go over basic rules and information for the sports they are covering.
Because smaller market stations have a smaller number of staff, advancement within the same radio or television station is unlikely. Rather, many radio and television announcers advance by relocating to a station in a larger market.
Nevertheless, announcers typically require a few years in a smaller market to work out the “kinks” of their on-air personalities. They learn to sound more comfortable and credible as an on-air talent and become more conversational with audiences and guests. Announcers must have a pleasant and well-controlled voice, good timing, and excellent pronunciation. Announcers also often need strong writing skills because they may write their own material.
When making hiring decisions, large market stations generally rely on announcers’ personalities. Radio and television announcers need to have proven that they can attract, engage, and keep a sizeable audience. Therefore, ratings for an announcer’s show in the smaller market are important in increasing advancement opportunities.
Larger stations may rely on radio and television announcers to do other tasks that the station needs. Therefore, an applicant needs to have demonstrated versatility and flexibility in the smaller market in duties such as creating and updating a social media presence on social networking sites, making promotional appearances on behalf of the station, or even selling commercial time to advertisers. Announcers, especially those seeking radio careers, should have good computer skills and be able to use computers, editing equipment, and other broadcast-related devices. Radio and television announcers may interview guests and answer phone calls on air. Entry into this occupation is very competitive, and many auditions may be needed for an opportunity to work on the air.
The tight schedules that announcers work on can be stressful. Although most announcers work full time, many work only part time. Many radio and television stations are on-air 24 hours a day. Some announcers present early-morning shows when most people are getting ready for work or commuting. Others do late-night programs. The shifts, however, are not as varied as in the past. Technology has allowed stations to eliminate most of the overnight hours, because shows that air during the night can now be recorded earlier in the day. Some self-employed announcers record their shows at home and sell them to networks and stations, advertising agencies, or other independent producers.
The median annual wage of radio and television announcers was $26,850 in May 2010 The lowest 10% earned less than $16,590, and the top 10% earned more than $72,500. The median annual wage of public address system and other announcers was $27,910 in May 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $16,940, and the top 10% earned more than $70,120. In general, announcers who work in larger markets earn more than those working in smaller markets.