Are you obsessed with radio? Do you want to be the next Aled Jones, Paul Thomas or Helen Toland? Well, you’re in the right place!
Radio producers are the organised and creative people who coordinate the content of radio shows. Although the presenter usually gets all the fame and glory, the radio producer is the real star of the show!
These guys determine the structure of the broadcast, make everything sound slick, create the playlist, track down interviewees, manage the team and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.
If you become a radio producer, you’ll have an incredibly varied range of responsibilities. You’ll use your technical skills and expert knowledge of state-of-the-art software, such as Pro Tools and Cool Edit Pro, to edit audio samples. You’ll use your creative flair to conjure up ideas for forthcoming shows, write scripts and make the most of audience-generated content, such as sound bites and phone-ins.
You’ll use your organisational skills to brief the broadcast team before each show, handle any problems when they arise and coordinate the nitty-gritty parts of making a broadcast come together. For instance, you’ll be responsible for making sure guests arrive in the studio on time.
Finally, you’ll use your knowledge of media law to obtain permission for the use of copyrighted material.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level radio producers tend to earn between £15,000 and £19,000 per annum.
Senior radio producers, however, can earn up to £50,000 per annum.
Freelance radio producers can earn considerably more—sometimes up to £350 a day.
This certainly isn’t your average nine-to-five office job. Expect early morning starts, late finishes and weekend work.
You may also be required to travel, both domestically and internationally, from time to time to work on live broadcasts.
Although a degree is not strictly necessary for entry into this line of work, completing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as media studies, creative media production or broadcast journalism may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Gaining relevant work experience is essential. Many people get their break as a radio producer after working in another role in the industry, such as a runner, radio broadcast assistant or production assistant.
It’s also a good idea to get involved with your student radio station at university. If your institution doesn’t already have one, you could launch a campaign to start one up. After all, you’d be a campus hero and it’d look great on your CV too!
Training & progression
The majority of your training will be done ‘on-the-job’. However, you may also wish to attend training courses offered by external organisations, such as the BBC Academy, to hone your skills and keep up to date with all the latest industry developments.
There is no defined career path for radio producers. Consequently, most people explore freelance opportunities.
However, if you work for a large media organisation, such as the BBC, there may be scope for making the move into a senior producer role. You may even be able to fight your way to the top of the career ladder and become a network controller.
Alternatively, you could move into another area of the industry, such as presenting.