Radio in common with much of the broadcasting and entertainment industry many would say is a notoriously difficult industry to break into, but the same strategies that apply to finding a career or a job anywhere in any industry also applies to the radio industry. Knowing even a little bit about the various job specialisations and areas of working can often help a candidate identify any opportunities better.
Knowing what opportunities to look for, where they’re likely to appear are, what they’re called and recognising them should they appear can often present an advantage.
Radio Industry Departmental Specialisation.
There are many jobs available within a radio company that are not radio presenters, the public face of the radio station. Many public broadcasting personalities, presenters and DJ’s, began their careers behind the scenes before progressing to on-air work, whilst many other radio professionals have never presented programmes. There are potential routes into radio and often jobs in some of the following departments:
- Commercials Production – or sometimes called Creative Services
- Engineering – both digital sound recording and broadcasting technicians.
- Production – which covers most audio and programme production (on-air back-up)
- Sales and Marketing – any revenue generation, commercial and public service broadcasting stations
- News and Sport – journalists both newsreaders on-air and behind the scenes.
- Presentation – from Music Djs to Talk show hosts and Interview Hosts.
With a bit of investigation the potential new entrant to radio might find openings in all these departments.
Finding the right person to approach will greatly increase the chances of a successful application for anyone looking for a way into the radio industry. It can often be confusing when approaching any organisation to find the right person to talk to about possible opportunities, and sending off applications without any thought to a large company is like throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit the bulls-eye. It might happen but increasing the size of the bulls-eye is more effective and increases the chances of success.
The organisation of the radio industry and the likely first contact for entry in many countries can be summarised thus:
- Large Radio Groups – control a number of radio stations. These may have a central personnel department, and an HR manager responsible for recruitment.
- Smaller Regional Groups – with a smaller number of stations, may still centralise many facilities like accounts; recruitment may be via HR, but more likely locally by each department manager.
- Locally owned and managed stations – each manager will likely recruit for each department.
Likely contacts therefore can and will vary from:
- The HR Manager.
- The Managing Director.
- The Programme Director – especially for programme, news and sport and programme production personnel.
- The Sales and Marketing Director – often responsible for an additional number of revenue generating and associated departments like commercials production, research, and publicity, and advertising traffic scheduling.
The precise person responsible for recruitment in each station, in each radio grouping and in different countries will obviously vary so it’s well worth a few initial calls to find out who has the authority and the responsibility to take on any new personnel either in their company and their station.
Routes into Radio.
Although a potential radio presenter may initially have the ‘radio bug’ and harbour a burning desire to be an on-air star, often the best way to achieve this is via the most unlikely route. Many presenters began their broadcasting careers filing cds in their local station’s record library, or talking phone calls for the station’s on-air competition, or more usually both.
A radio superstar for the future would be well advised also, to consider taking any position within their local radio station initially if offered rather than holding out for the big city station opportunity. Make a big name in a small station, and the big station will find out. Most successful radio personalities and radio personnel will also offer two over-riding strategies for anyone looking for a way into the radio industry:
- Be persistent
- Never give up.