Top 3 In-Demand Radio Jobs

What is the future for jobs in radio in our digitally connected world? Three jobs in particular stand out as being in demand right now and look to be still in demand as radio celebrates its 100th Anniversary in the year 2020. The first won’t surprise anyone, the second is a job that only recently became critical and the third is a job that’s been a part of radio since day one.

#1 Radio Sales People

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the need for trained, professional sales people is the number one radio job in demand today and as far out as the eye can see. Since I’ve been in radio it seems hiring good sales people was always on the lips of general managers and sales managers. So when we asked the operator’s of Kentucky’s 300 radio stations what were the jobs they most needed to fill, sales was job one.

Ironically, it’s the class not offered by many of America’s colleges and universities that offer a broadcast curriculum. Where I teach at Western Kentucky University, Bart White started teaching radio sales decades ago as part of the broadcast degree program in Radio/TV Operations. In fact, Barton C. White wrote two books on radio sales, his second called The New Ad Media Reality Electronic Over Print should have been widely distributed from the day it came out in 1993. I know I wished I had been aware of it back then.

I was hired to replace the retiring Professor White and immediately charged with teaching both the Broadcast Radio/TV/Digital Sales class as well as the Radio/TV Operations Capstone class. Since I began five years ago as a tenure track professor at WKU, I’ve overseen the creation of the KBA WKU RADIO TALENT INSTITUTE that contains a strong sales component as well as adding a second sales class to the broadcast curriculum in Advanced Radio Sales that enables students earn their professional Radio Advertising Sales certifications in both radio and digital sales from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).

My students have learned that with this type of training, they are almost guaranteed a job upon graduation wherever they decide to live. I’ve successfully placed students with companies like iHeartMedia, CBS Radio, E. W. Scripps, Cromwell Broadcasting, Alpha Media, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Viacom, Summit Media, and Forever Communications.

This year at BEA2015 (Broadcast Education Association) in Las Vegas I’m moderating a panel I proposed to encourage other colleges and universities to consider adding radio sales classes to their curriculum by letting them hear directly about the need in this area from some of the radio industry’s leaders who will be in Vegas attending the NAB April Convention.

#2 Internet Content Creator

The next position that is in demand is for people who can create original content for radio station websites. Not cut and paste artists who “borrow” others’ website content and re-purpose it but innovators that can act like a combination of journalist/advertising/public relations specialist and populate radio station websites with engaging, compelling original content that is of interest to people in the station’s service area.

#3 RF Broadcast Engineers

Not that it was ever easy to hire great radio engineers, the talent pool used to be a whole lot bigger. Consolidation chased a lot of them out of the business and what they learned was the job could be more lucrative by becoming a consultant engineer to groups of radio stations. Other engineers found new opportunities in other industries that could apply their talent and strong work ethic that was instilled into them by radio’s 24/7 on-call employment. Computers and digital technology also demanded that radio engineering learn this new radio operational system or get out.

Well, those who went into private consulting are now reaching the age of retirement. Those who went into other industries learned the pay and hours were often better than radio. Further complicating things, most schools are teaching the skills needed for the digital world and radio stations still generate broadcast signals using radio frequency (RF) and there are fewer schools turning out these types of engineers for radio stations. Graduates are sought by the wireless communications companies that have similar needs to radio stations and have the deep pockets to entice them to work for them.

Positions Not In-Demand

General Managers, Promotions Directors and News Reporters are found on the bottom of the employee needs list. It would appear this is a result of radio’s consolidation. One manager is now needed to oversee a cluster(s) of radio stations. Promotions are now planned on a group-wide basis and news hubs have been set-up to serve regional areas.

22 Comments

Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

22 responses to “Top 3 In-Demand Radio Jobs

  1. Julia Armstrong

    When you have student who wants to move to West Pal Beach and needs a sales job you know who to call!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. akismet-cd72fc07459463f133470cd4c2489166

    The career savvy news people understand their job is equal parts reporter and content creator.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish there were more DJ – ANNOUNCER jobs in Radio these days! I miss working at a small hometown station like WMMW AM 1470 in Meriden, Connecticut! Seems like the days of the local hometown DJ are a thing of the pasr! From, TOM COSS Of Meriden, Connecticut

    Liked by 1 person

  4. chip

    Tell me where those RF Engineering jobs are. I’m REALLY good at it. Tell me where to go to get work.

    Like

    • Go to any state broadcast association and ask. It’s a comment I hear pretty often when I go to broadcast association meetings, so I wasn’t surprised to find it show up in my research on KY radio stations.

      Like

      • Gary Zocolo CE R1/Cleveland

        The position of RF engineer is really a misnomer. A good broadcast engineer must carry a broad skill set that includes IP/Network configuration skills, PC repair and troubleshooting skills, software deployment skills, RF skills, construction and deployment skills, Directional Antenna knowledge, FM and RDS proficiency, FCC rules and regulation familiarity, A skilled engineer must be able to prepare presentation grade exhibits for corporate management, have Microsoft Office Suite proficiency, and of course present themselves well in a professional business environment. A good attitude and working with the rest of the big picture team is also a requirement. People who span all of these skill sets are exceedingly rare.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gary, I could not agree with you more. The reason I only used “RF Engineer” is that too many people think that because they can operate a control console, they are an “engineer.” The “RF” part is like putting up a wall that must be scaled before you then can address all the myriad of other skills that are required of today’s radio broadcast engineer. Thank you for your comment! -DT

        Like

      • Scott Cason

        There are plenty of those jobs out there….the problem is, station owners are not wanting to pay for the good ones. I worked in radio since I was 13. Spent 12 years in television. Then 12 years ago, I started an engineering consulting firm. Two years ago I got my Kentucky Realtor’s license. I’ve had enough. after all that time in radio For any given problem that came up, I could either fix it, or knew someone who could. yet, owners/managers still only wanted to pay me the same as what they could pay “some computer guy from church” to come look at it. That’s fine, when “some computer guy from church” (and yes, I’ve lost jobs because of THAT reason) can’t figure out why your AM transmitter suddenly won’t load in your directional antenna before your sold out University of Kentucky ball game, good luck with that. That is when they call you. But I’m sorry, I have three closings today making five times what you would have paid me, I can’t help you right now.

        Like

  5. spotmagicsolis

    Good topic and current. Keep up the good work, Dick. If anyone has a license to poll radio industries, it’s someone like you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Looking Back at My 1st Year of Blogging | DickTaylorBlog

  7. The coming crisis in broadcasting is the lack of qualified people interested in getting into broadcast engineering, coupled with the current generation of engineers coming ever-closer to retirement.

    http://news.michmab.com/editorial-theres-a-crisis-coming-in-broadcasting-and-its-not-what-you-think/

    Like

  8. I’m an extra-class ham radio operator, a senior in college completing a degree in computer information systems, and I have real-world experience (43 years old). I’ve been in sales all my life and I hate it. I would LOVE to be a broadcast engineer, but how does one go about getting started? I checked out a few employment ads some years ago and they all wanted people with experience. I’m a fast learner and would probably catch on pretty quick. I’ll check with my school, maybe they’ll have some ideas.

    Like

  9. As a small market station owner, the story is right on the money. Qualified sales personnel is on the top of the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Neil Schwanitz

    I saw the writing on the wall soon after the Mega Mergers started and got away from the once “fun” career as a broadcast engineer. Corporations treated engineers as overpaid “electronic janitors”.

    Medium and small market managers were shocked that the fewer and fewer contract engineers were now driving the bus when it came to rates.

    I quickly learned the grass was indeed greener on the other side of the fence despite all the manure encountered on the broadcasting side of the fence. My RF skills were in demand in other RF fields. Sure, I needed to move to take advantage of a new career, but all seasoned broadcasters are used to moving around.

    I’ve been off broadcasting for 14 years now and never happier.

    Like

  11. Geary Morrill

    Scott – Chip: drop me a message: Geary@alphamediausa.com

    Like

  12. Hi, This mohammd from Malaysia, i am interested for Engineering job.
    info.ois.my@gmail.com,phone:+60182696569

    Like

  13. Pingback: Is Your Iceberg Melting? | DickTaylorBlog

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