In a nutshell, radio broadcast assistants are the dynamic, enthusiastic people that provide crucial assistance to radio producers and presenters to make sure radio shows are broadcast in an efficient and entertaining manner.
Radio broadcast assistants perform a wide variety of different tasks, from research and planning to general administrative support. These guys help with both the creative and technical aspects of radio production.
They might also be responsible for briefing guests, archiving previous recordings, answering phone calls, editing sound and making sure recording equipment is in full working order.
Some broadcast assistants may get the opportunity to select the music that will be played on air, or perhaps even present a small section of a show.
The skills and expertise of radio broadcast assistants are required by all kinds of radio stations, from national stations, such as Radio 1, to popular local ones, such as Xfm.
Salary & benefits
Annual starting salaries for radio broadcast assistants range between £14,000 and £25,000, while senior assistants can earn around £18,000 to £26,000 per annum.
Salary levels are determined by experience, location and what kind of radio station you work for. Understandably, if you work for Radio 1, you will earn more than somebody who works for a hospital radio station.
Radio broadcast assistants typically work shifts that coincide with a particular set of radio shows (such as the morning shift, the afternoon shift, or the nighttime shift). Consequently, there’s a chance that you’ll be working irregular and unsocial hours. You may also be required to work weekends from time to time.
Predominantly you will be working in a studio, although you may occasionally be required to provide assistance on broadcasts out in the field.
Graduates with all kinds of degrees can become radio broadcast assistants. However, a degree or HND (higher national diploma) in radio broadcasting, radio production, media production or media studies might boost your chances of getting your foot in the door.
Although getting a degree or HND is not strictly necessary for entering this line of work, if you take the non-uni route, you will need to gain a wealth of work experience before securing an entry-level role.
Training & progression
Radio broadcast assistants are most likely to learn their trade through gaining hands-on experience. Initially, you’ll be given a short training course on how to operate the equipment specific to your radio station. Following that, you’ll learn ‘on-the-job’ under the supervision of senior team members.
The next logical step up from being a radio broadcast assistant is to become a radio producer. However, you could theoretically move into all kinds of roles within the industry, from researcher to radio show presenter.
In order to get your big break, you may be required to move to a different station. It’s a very competitive industry and thus having the flexibility and willingness to move around is vital for career progression.