TV, Radio and Sports Announcers tend to be known by all and loved by most! These are the voices and faces you see or hear every day when driving to work, watching the news, perhaps even while you shop. Though their name might not be their actual birth name, you may know it as well as you know your friends’ names and indeed, announcers occasionally seem as though they are a friend because of their continued friendly presence during daily activities!
TV, Radio and Sports Announcer Job Responsibilities
Though you know the part of the job you hear or see, there is often much more to this position than simply reading a script out loud to an audience. An announcer may have to research and write his or her own information. They may be given a very general topic to discuss and need to determine what might interest the audience, and find timely information and fact check it for accuracy. Announcers may also have to perform live or taped interviews, in which case they need to research and obtain some background information about the person they’ll be interviewing, preparing an advance list of questions and topics to cover. An announcer may also need to make public appearances at station events, shaking hands, giving out autographs, and answering questions while promoting the station and sometimes its clients. An announcer may also be expected to do production work, which involves using computerized equipment to record and edit commercials and other promotional audio. Radio disc jockeys (“DJs” or “jocks”) do not select the music; this is done by a program director or music director.
TV, Radio and Sports Announcer Training and Education Requirements
Radio announcers typically have to have a high level of comfort with audio equipment. These skills may have been learned in high school or college in a radio program, but as technology changes often, it may be advisable to keep current on audio technology, researching the current tools and attending classes as needed.
A sports announcer needs to stay very current with events and figures within that sport as he or she is not only announcing plays but delivers commentary and analysis and is therefore expected to have a high level of knowledge of and passion for the sport. Often, former athletes or coaches of that sport are preferred applicants for sports announcer positions, as the audience presumes they have a firsthand knowledge of the game that an “outsider” may not have.
Some announcers get their start by performing low-level tasks in a station such as research, assisting at promotions, or college internships, and eventually may have the opportunity to be on the air; internships can also be valuable to acquire contacts and to become familiar with the equipment being utilized, and help to steer further training. College training may involve a broadcast program (some colleges have their own radio station) or public speaking, drama, or English classes. Announcers often have to update portions of a station’s website so some classes or familiarity with content management systems can be helpful. A good command of grammar, writing, research, and excellent diction are also valuable skills.
Acquiring a sample reel/CD or mp3 can be a valuable tool for obtaining employment. A typical path for an announcer is at a small station with a small audience, and moving up in audience size as their popularity grows, often moving from smaller cities to larger cities as their reputation grows.
TV, Radio and Sports Announcer Salary and Wages
This profession is considered fairly prestigious and is in demand by employees, so pay is typically low except for seasoned well-known professionals with a large following. Salaries vary widely, with the middle 50% earning between $8.82 and $21.04. The highest 10% earned more than $33.58 and the lowest earned $7.45. As of 2008, there were about 55,100 announcers in the United States; that figure is expected to decline by about 6 percent by 2018, as stations move toward automation and syndication.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
TV, Radio and Sports Announcer Certifications
There are no certifications specific to this career.
TV, Radio and Sports Announcer Professional Associations
There are many professional associations for announcers as well as various trade magazines dedicated to the profession which can provide valuable insider information as to news and trends in stations across the country.
NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters, focuses on the technical aspects of television and radio. Membership includes access to conventions which showcase cutting edge technologies.
NASPAA, the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers, offers memberships which include voice training and equipment as well as an understanding of sports psychology. They are known for their annual announcer awards.
American Disc Jockey Association is a nonprofit which focuses on mobile/nightclub disc jockeys.
Many stations also have a broadcasting association wherein members can make local connections, find job postings, and find out more about stations and broadcasting trends within the state.
Radio Ink magazine is an industry magazine with news, classifieds, trends, and other resources. R&R magazine (Radio & Records) has merged with Billboard and serves a similar purpose.