The World of Broadcasting
Would you like to break into broadcasting? Would you like to host your own radio show, anchor the nightly news, chase breaking news around the globe or work behind the scenes as a camera operator, editor or technician? There are plenty of exciting opportunities in broadcasting but the job market is extremely competitive. The US Department of Labor estimates the average yearly salary in the industry at just over $40, 000 but that number doesn't tell the whole story. Broadcasters in major markets like New York and Los Angeles can command large salaries but employees in small markets often make a menial wage. If you are new to the business chances are you'll start at a small station and "pay your dues" before moving on to more lucrative markets.
Here are some ways to get your foot in the studio door.
Education Builds the Foundation
Most major broadcasters demand their news people have a degree in journalism. Expect to spend four years at an accredited post secondary education to complete your degree. Tv anchors and radio news readers usually start out as reporters and move up as their skills and confidence increase.
If you are interested in working as a camera operator or editor you can find video production courses at many technical schools and community colleges. Build up a body of work while you are in training. When you have a portfolio you are proud of take it to your local television station. Many stations hire cameraman (also known as shooters) and editors to cover for ill or vacationing staff or work on special projects. The more they like your work, the more they will call you back.
Be cautious about private broadcast schools. They are often expensive and take your time and money for no reward. Ask what percentage of their graduates are currently employed in the industry and get any promises in writing with a money back guarantee.
A Microphone and a Laptop. You're On The Air!
Get Started Today
If you're looking for a career in radio get experience by hosting your own podcast. It's easy, inexpensive and fun. All you need is a computer with internet connection, a microphone, headphones and a recording and editing program. Check out services like Blogtalk Radio, PodBean.com or PodOmatic to get you started. Tweet and use Facebook to let your friends and family know about your program.
If filming and editing is more up your alley get out your pad, phone or digital camera and shoot video every chance you can. There are many simple and inexpensive video editing programs available on line. Post your best stuff on utube and let everyone know where to find it.
If your dream is to sit in front of the camera get involved in local theatre or modeling. Emcee school or charitable events. Offer to star in your friend's videos. Take any opportunity to get comfortable speaking in front of a camera or the public.
Keep Up With Technology
Twenty years ago most radio reporters recorded their interviews on cassette tapes. They then returned to the station and replayed the audio in real time while recording it on large reel to reel tapes and edited with a razor blade.
Today those reporters carry palm sized digital recorders. Files are downloaded directly on to computers and editing done on multi-track systems. The internet allows reporters to file audio and video files quickly from anywhere they have WiFi access.
Similarly television cameras have become sharper and lighter. Editing programs are faster and more intricate.
Stay on top of the changes in broadcast technology. What's used today may be obsolete in the near future.
You may have your heart set on a career as an anchor or radio host but learn as much as you can about other aspects of broadcasting. Today reporters are often expected to file for radio, television and the web. Hosts may have to also blog or maintain a web page.
The more skills you bring to your first interview the better the chances are of getting hired. With determination you can break into broadcasting.