Being an announcer for radio or television can be a rewarding career. It is a job that is considered to be in the field of Mass Communications or Journalism. You can choose to either find a job at a local radio station and stay there, or move up to “big market.” The pay in big market is much more lucrative, but the competition is more fierce. I worked as a radio announcer for over 10 years in a commercial station and got a degree in Radio-TV from a 4-year college. This is a track many take and is the most recommended, if you wish to find higher level jobs in the future. Here are some additional steps you can take to increase your chances of success in this interesting field:
High School or GED
To be an announcer, you must be a clear communicator. Your job will be to tell people what is happening in the world via the news media, or some other source. You will also be the voice of reason in the case of a crisis, so you must be calm and able to handle yourself under stressful situations.
Additional Licensure Requirements
In addition to formal education training, the federal government requires announcers to be licensed now, by taking a test. You obtain your license through the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). They are the governing body of the communications industry in America and they have the final say on what is allowed, and any legislation involving mass communications in the U.S. They do not regulate the internet though, so if you plan to only be an announcer for internet stations, this would not apply to you.
For more information on requirements on licensing as an announcer in this fascinating field, visit http://www.fcc.gov/guides/.
In general, you need a four-year degree from a university in Mass Communications, Journalism, or the arts. The courses covered should include: Radio and Television Announcing, Production, Performance, and Copywriting. Often, an announcer will be the only one at the radio or television station, so they must be able to write copy for commercials and news as well as numerous other duties.
An Alternate Route
If you cannot get a Bachelor of Science degree (four-year program), the next best thing would be to get a two-year certification program from a technical institute. Find a program which focuses on performance more than production, if your goal is to be an announcer.
Steps to Becoming an Announcer
Once you acquire the education and/or training to become an announcer, here is one path you can take to make your dreams a reality:
1) Apply at small market radio stations for production work. Oftentime, a radio station may not have immediate openings for staff announcers, but they might be open to you doing some production work for local radio ads. Ask if they have a need for new voice talent to do an occasional spot for local clients, and impress them with your style, and they may call you back later for a more permanent gig.
2) Update your portfolio to include recent work. You should have a working resume with audio samples known as “air checks” with you when you apply. This way, potential employers can see your talent and will call on you when there is work or a position available.
3) Become a member of the North American Broadcasting Association. This is the primary association which focuses on broadcasting issues. If you are a member of this federal organization, you may have access to more information that will help you in your career, and be able to connect with others in the field more easily and keep up with the trends.
4) Audition for extra announcing jobs, such as sporting events or special community activities. The more you can get your voice and face out there, the better your chance of building a fan base and getting more jobs in the future. “Remote broadcasts,” which happen on site can often increase your visibility with business leaders and others as well, and help your credibility in the field.
5) Continue your training. Go back to school to take extra classes dealing with added skills, such as copywriting or news reporting. The more skills you can offer a potential employer, the better your chances at obtaining a job in the field of announcing.
One note: If you want to be an announcer on the internet, no licensing requirements exist, so you can have your own internet station if you so choose. Having a license is always a plus, though and you will get more respect from your listeners if you have this. Additionally, if you plan to play music belonging to someone else, it is wise to get a license to broadcast which pays the artists royalties so you are covered. LIVE365 is one platform that operates this way. Go to: http://www.live365.com to learn more.
There are many paths to a career in announcing. The most important thing is that you have some sort of formal education or training in the field, and a sincere desire to inform and entertain others. If you are someone who enjoys this type of thing, announcing can be a very rewarding career for you.