Guest Post: Starting a Career in Radio
The following is a guest post from Sarah Stockton, an Outreach Coordinator for Voices.com, a site connects businesses with professional voice talents. In the post, she provides background on the state of the industry, and then step-by-step information on breaking into a career in radio.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market in broadcasting is expected to grow more slowly in the future than the overall job market. While this is certainly not the best news for those hoping to break into the industry, the silver lining is that some growth is expected. Those interested in a career in broadcasting can do several things to increase their opportunities in the field such as preparing for work with a solid education, building a portfolio, and working as an intern.
Get an Education
A degree in broadcasting can be very useful for those interested in a radio career. Broadcasting degrees can be tailored for any desired position including announcer, reporter, host, technician, manager, program director, or sales director. While it is certainly not necessary to have a degree to find a job in radio, it is quite helpful and can improve one’s ability to move up within the field. Individuals interested in positions within larger markets may find a degree more of a necessity.
Assemble a Portfolio
There are several ways to build a portfolio before beginning a career in radio. In fact, this can greatly help improve the odds of landing that first job. Small radio stations often have a limited budget for hiring radio talent for their advertisements. Approach various stations and offer to be the vocal talent for upcoming radio commercials in exchange for a copy of the finished product to put in your portfolio.
A few well done commercials with a variety of vocal styles can quickly increase the samples you are able to provide potential clients. Another option for building a portfolio is narrating books. This can be done with public domain books such as those found in Project Gutenberg. If the idea of narrating an entire book simply for a portfolio is unappealing, consider donating copies to nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. Not only will this make your sample more useful in general, but knowing it will be listened to repeatedly may motivate you to do your absolute best.
Become an Intern
Internships are probably the best known way to get noticed in the world of radio. There are a few drawbacks. Interns often work for free, may be assigned boring jobs, and long hours that may also be very early or very late at night. Is it worth it? Yes. As an intern you will receive invaluable training that would be impossible to get in a classroom. You will meet people in the industry and have work experience within the industry to include on your resume. While some colleges help facilitate internships, that may not always be an option.
Fortunately, many radio stations that offer internships do not require their interns to be college students. If you aren’t sure which nearby radio stations are offering internships, simply ask. Contact the General Manager or Program Director about existing or future possibilities. It only takes one ‘yes’ to make every ‘no’ worthwhile.
Network, Network, Network
One of the best ways to increase your career opportunities is to network. Attend lectures and conferences which will feature industry leaders you respect. Follow blogs, social networking pages, and the Tweets of your personal favorites. You will learn more about your chosen career field and may even have the opportunity to interact directly with experts in your field.
The enormity of deciding on a career can be overwhelming for many people. Once a career path has been chosen the battle is practically won. How do you plan on breaking into the world of radio?
Sarah Stockton is an Outreach Coordinator for Voices.com, a site connects businesses with professional voice talents. She enjoys helping potential voice talent find their start in the voice industry.
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