Generally, radio work can be broken down into content production (including station manager, producer, reporter/journalist, DJ/presenter, researcher, runner) and technical production (engineers with relevant training). As with film and television work, radio can involve very irregular and unsocial hours. Again, recent graduates must often start off with unpaid or poorly paid work in order to get experience. Those beginning their careers can expect to work part time at first, for which they should get at least the minimum wage. Wage rates very much depend on whether the job is unionised. It is advisable for new employees to join the National Union of Journalists when they start.
Technically, the nature of radio has changed dramatically in recent years, with digital recording, editing, and broadcasting on computers replacing the use of much recording and editing equipment. Audio tapes in radio stations are fast becoming a thing of the past. Those working in technical fields in radio must be competent with the necessary computer skills. Public perception and expectation of what radio should offer has also changed. Due to the increase in local radio stations, listeners now expect to have access to radio that refers to their own region, as well as national stations.
As with film and television, apart from training, an ideal candidate will have initiative, great communication and people skills, will be punctual and reliable and able to meet deadlines. Determination and tenacity are also required! Those working in radio will need to be very adept at thinking on their feet and dealing with unexpected situations, as many productions will go out live. For those actually presenting, the ability to get their ideas across clearly and audibly is essential. A pleasant sounding voice is always a help, but this does not imply any specific accent.
Typical responsibilities and tasks for entry-level positions include:
- Shadowing someone more experienced
- Sourcing ideas
- Pitching for stories
- Background information research
- Establishing phone contacts.
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