Have you thought about having a career in radio broadcasting? How about a job at a radio station? There are many considerations when you contemplate this career path. The best way to decide if radio is right for you (and whether or not you are right for radio) is to ask yourself a series of key questions, and also to be ready for the good and bad things that will await you.
The first question to ask yourself is: are you ready for the entertainment business? The entertainment business sounds fun, and yes it is fun, but it is not easy. It may be less strenuous in terms of physical work than other careers but it is not less actual work. There is a lot of mental activity involved, and there is a certain savvy needed. It is also a very competitive business and you will encounter egotistical attitudes in many members of this business, but not always. There are a lot of fascinating and down-to-earth folks as well.
If you like the following words, you probably have the right mindset for the entertainment business: excitement, hype, crowds, public and social. If those words scare you a lot, then you might still be able to be in radio, but you would be better-suited to the office jobs in the field.
The fact is that there are more office jobs in the entertainment business than there are actual entertainment jobs, so you have to prepare yourself that you might not be the right candidate for the limelight type jobs. And that’s perfectly ok, because the buzz and energy of the business is still very present around the offices of entertainment companies.
Another question to ask yourself is if you want to start making a lot of money in the early outset of your career. If so, radio broadcasting (and many other branches of the entertainment field) may not be for you. Contrary to popular belief, most people in the biz do not make a fortune. Most have to spend half a decade up to a decade just to find full-time work. And yet many others never find full-time work. This is particularly true if you want to be a DJ or have an important role in management.
There are only so many radio jobs in each city, so the next consideration is willingness to travel and/or settle for lower wages or positions. You will most-likely be forced to reconcile those two elements and find the balance that is right for you. As a general rule, in order to get full-time work and make higher wages you’ll need to move around and travel until you work your way up the proverbial corporate ladder. This is true in many fields of business, but is even more the case in the field of radio broadcasting.
In order to really excel both financially and in terms of position in this very competitive field, you’ll need to have self-motivation, persistence, perseverance, tenacity, and not settle for less than what you really dream of achieving. The temptation will be there to settle into a comfy job, with the mindset of oh, I’ll try to get to my big dreams later. That is a dangerous path, so nip it in the bud! Jump in and hit the ground running. Don’t sit around and wait for your ship to come in-swim out to it!
Finally, you’ll need to understand that, although many aspects of your job will be fun, the excitement will wear off after you find your niche and settle into your job. Are you ready for the fact that at some point, as they say, at the end of the day a job is a job? Will it be worth it to you, after all these things have been considered?
Radio is best for those who are passionate about music and broadcasting. Being obsessed with meeting famous people or gaining fame and glamor are the wrong reasons to join this wonderful field. It has so much to offer and those aspects are not as prevalent as you’d assume.
Furthermore, you should know that pursuing the entertainment business with immature, superficial motives results in a loss of respect by your peers. Even if you don’t let on that you’re in it for the wrong reasons, others will see through you and you’ll soon find that you’re alone with no real friends. And actually, the same is true of life in general, in terms of approaching your life from a superficial vantage point-it is not a good way to live or beneficial in the long-term.
Now that you’ve considered all these factors, the way to get started is as follows: go to college or broadcasting school and apply for internships at your local broadcasting companies. Call the radio groups and ask specifically for the promotions director, promotions assistant, assistant program director or music director (depending whether your interest is on-air or promotions). Tell them how passionate you are, what life experiences have prepared you for this field, and ask them if there is anything available, however small-even emptying waste baskets or being a board operator is a great way to get your start.
Alternatively, you may be able to start an internship even if you are not attending school for broadcasting. There are also programs that you can find online that allow you to find a local mentor working in broadcasting locally for training, as an alternative to a conventional internship. If you are passionate about the business for the right reasons, the doors are there and you just have to turn the key, open them up and, as the cliche goes, get your foot in the door. The rest is cake.
Once you’re in the door, remember to be confident but not cocky. Never put yourself in a position to be walked all over. You are just as valuable a person as anyone there, even if you haven’t established yourself there. But be humble enough to take on some boring busy work, at least at first. This balanced mindset is crucial to your survival in this competitive field.
by Casey Adams