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How Much Does a Radio Host Make?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Turning Your News Interest Into a Job

Do you start your day by catching up on the previous day’s current events? Or, maybe, you’re the go-to girl when a friend can’t figure out which artist sings a certain song. In either case, a job as a radio host might be the perfect fit for you. No matter where you live, it’s likely there are radio stations somewhere in the vicinity. With around-the-clock broadcasting, you’ll also have a variety of hours to choose from to fit your mom schedule.

Job Description

Radio hosts have a variety of duties, depending on what type of station you work at and your role for the station. Duties range from presenting music, sports, news, the weather, and commercials to interviewing guests and handling discussion on various topics.

If you’re in news, you might also be responsible for suggesting and researching topics for your show. You’ll read prepared scripts and take listener questions. You’ll need to stay up to date on current events in your area of broadcast, whether it’s news, sports or politics, so you can comment on these events during your program.

Depending on the size of your station, radio hosts might also be responsible for operating studio equipment, selling commercial time or helping produce advertisements. This is more likely at radio stations in smaller markets.

With the increased presence of social media, many radio hosts are also required to maintain a presence on various sites and promote their stations. You also might have to update your own station’s website with show schedules, interviews and photos.

Education Requirements

Generally, radio show hosts need a bachelor’s degree in communications, broadcasting or journalism. College courses help students learn how to write broadcast content, enhance their vocal qualities, research stories, and use computer, software and audio equipment to produce content. Colleges also offer internship opportunities for students, which are critical in gaining experience for your first job. Many colleges also have their own radio stations where students can gain experience in a smaller arena.

In rare occasions and depending on the size of the station or your experience, you might be able to break in with just a high school diploma.

The median wage for a radio host is $29,120, according to the United States Department of Labor. Median wage means half the radio hosts in the United States make less than that, and half earn more.

Your salary depends on the size of the market where you work. For example, Jackson, Mississippi, is a much smaller market than San Francisco, California, so you can expect to make much less.

About the Industry

Most radio hosts work inside in air-conditioned, soundproof studios. However, if your station is sponsoring a local event, you might be expected to broadcast from that location.

You also can expect to work holidays, weekends, late hours or early mornings since stations are generally on 24 hours a day. Radio stations are all across the United States, so you have many location options. Initially, though, you’ll have to work in a smaller area, but once you gain experience, you’ll be able to move to bigger areas or markets if you want.

Years of Experience

As you gain more experience, your salary may increase, especially if you’re willing to move. If you start out at a smaller market, your pay will increase with your experience, but it will never reach the same level that it would in a bigger market. After a few years in a smaller market, many radio hosts choose to move to bigger markets where they can make more money.

For example, the median salary for a news reporter on a radio show in a small market is $31,000, compared to $36,500 for a news reporter in a large market, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Job Growth Trend

Job growth for radio host is expected to decline a bit, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Many stations are consolidating their programming, resulting in fewer radio hosts. Broadcasting companies are also consolidating and using syndicated programming, which is programming that wasn’t produced at its own station. Finally, radio stations are using voice tracking, which allows hosts to record a number of segments to use at a later date or even on another station. This allows stations to employ fewer radio hosts while still broadcasting around the clock.

On the bright side, internet radio and podcasts may continue to grow, as will national news and satellite stations, providing another niche for radio hosts.