Broadcast producers can specialize in promotions, news, programming or a number of other segments. Most producers start their careers at small stations located in their hometown. Experienced producers looking for advancement opportunities and larger salaries are often forced to transfer to bigger stations in larger markets. It is common for ambitious producers to relocate several times during their career.
Broadcast producers oversee the production of a programming segment, promotions, or an entire show. Typical duties include designing show schedules, scouting and selecting shoot locations and managing live programs as they go over the air. Producers are responsible for content and either write or approve scripts. They also coordinate the efforts of technical personnel, on-air personalities and other personnel. Associate producers often assist senior producers by conducting research or performing a variety of administrative tasks.
Most but not all senior broadcast producer positions require a college degree in broadcasting, journalism or another relevant field. Associate level positions are often offered to students in the process of completing their degree. Previous broadcasting experience is very desirable. Aspiring producers can gain experience by completing an internship or working for a school-sponsored television or radio station.
The environment is fast-paced, especially for producers who oversee live programming. Circumstances change quickly, and deadlines are measure by seconds, not days. Long, irregular schedules that include holidays are common. This is particularly true for news producers who must report to work whenever breaking news occurs.
Most producers are assigned cubicles or work stations in the newsroom to complete their day-to-day duties. These spaces are often cramped, and it is not uncommon for newsroom to be noisy and hectic. On occasion producers may be required to go out into the field to scout locations for the creation of a segment.
Salary and Benefits
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, the median hourly wage for broadcast producers was $28.05 in 2008. BLS officials say full-time workers in broadcasting, including producers, generally receive standard benefit packages in addition to their regular salary. These packages usually include health insurance, paid vacations, sick leave and pension plans. Part-time employees on the other hand are rarely offered full benefits.
BLS experts predict that the number of broadcasting positions will increase 7 percent between 2008 and 2018. This is lower than the national job growth rate for all industries, which is about 11 percent. BLS experts go on to say that competition for job openings will be strong especially in large markets. Candidates with college degrees in broadcasting, journalism or a similar field will fare best along with those that have previous work experience. Applicants who make an effort to keep abreast of changing broadcasting technologies also will have an easier time finding employment.