Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 15, 2017

Radio 101: Pros and Cons to Working in Radio.

     Welcome to this month's Radio 101 blog post! This is my monthly series where I talk about all thing related to my day job, in the wild, wonderful, and sometimes even wacky world of radio broadcasting! For this month's post, I decided to keep it short and sweet. So many people are often so curious about my day job and the things that I like and dislike about being in this industry. I'm always down for a good ol' fashioned pros and cons list, so I figured why not make one to share with y'all the things that I like and dislike about being in radio? (Note: these things are about working in radio broadcasting in general; none are directed specifically at my employer, radio stations, and the Vermont radio markets. 😊)

Pros to working in radio:

     1. It's a FUN industry: I get to be apart of the industry that promotes new music and supports artists, creates exciting contests for listeners, is active on social media and with new technologies, and is a big participant in the local community and media. Four WONDERFUL things! And of course, the majority of my job centers around the music. I mean really... does a career get better then that?!

     2. My job helps make people smile: One of the main reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because of the personal connection that I have to it. I struggled with a lot of anxiety growing up, and even some depression during one year in high school. Listening to the radio was always one thing that gave me so much joy during those hard times. It was the little things, like hearing my favorite song, or having the DJ say something interesting or funny that could change my whole perspective on a rough day. Now I get to be that bright spot in a hard day for other people! I love playing listeners' song requests, and one of my favorite parts of my job is when our station gets to award a prize in a big contest to an excited listener. There's just nothing better!

     3. Being ahead of the music trends: In the age of instant gratification, who doesn't love being the first to be in the know about what's new? Working in radio, I always get to hear new music first, which is so cool, and a privilege that I don't take for granted! I'm a total radio nerd as well, and it always fascinates me to no end which songs make it to the top of the charts, and which ones fizzle out before getting a lot of airplay. I love trying to predict what will happen with a song the first time I hear it- sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong!

     4. The independence and creativity: I get to use my creative skills to brainstorm and research show content to talk about on the radio everyday! Of course, there are certain things that a DJ has to talk about in every show (like local weather, current promotions or contests being run by the station or company, etc), but generally speaking, this is a creative job, and you get to determine the tone and a lot of the content of your radio show! Since I do all of my shows solo right now, I also have a lot of independence at work. I spend a lot of my work days by myself in the radio studio, which is a peaceful and relaxing work environment for me!

      5. The mobility (pro): It's no secret that I would have never moved to Vermont, or probably even back to New England at all, if it wasn't for this career path! Radio (and television news similarly), are different from a lot of other career paths for new grads in that about 95% of the time, you have to move somewhere for a job to get into the industry. I would have loved to stay in Charlotte a bit longer, but that just wasn't an option with the way these jobs are. While Vermont wasn't my top choice as a state to move to, it's still very exciting to think that it's my career brought me all the way here to Northern New England! I am completely serious when I tell people I have no clue where I'll end up next, and that does excite me. There's something really cool about being in an industry that allows you a year or a few years of experiencing life in a new part of of the country, and then moving onto somewhere else. It doesn't mean that it will all be easy, but it's an amazing experience to have, especially in your 20s!

Cons to working in radio:

      1. The salary range: NO ONE goes into radio for the money.... lol. People pick this profession because of their passion for the industry and the music, not to make big bucks. There is potential to have a decent salary if you're able to get a morning show job, or eventually make it into a large market. But let's just say that your first job in radio in a small market (or even in a larger market if it's your first job!).... a very, very, very low salary. A lot of people starting out in radio are very lucky if they can just be full-time with benefits! I am so thankful that my blog has been able to provide me with more opportunities for sponsored content this year to supplement my income. A lot of people my age starting out in radio or TV also work second jobs!

      2. The mobility (con): I listed this as both a pro and a con. Although I do think it's very exciting to be in a field where you have the chance to live in different cities and parts of the country as you begin your career, there are also negatives to that as well. Your initial job offers might not being in places that you want to move to, or connect with well once you end up moving there. As I did, you could end up very far away from friends, family, and other loved ones. This was the case for some of my broadcasting school classmates who are beginning their careers as well! I try and view the mobility aspect more from the positive "pro" side, but in honesty there are some cons as well.

     3. Limited PTO and working holidays: When you work in broadcasting, it is so crucial when you're new in a market to establish consistency with your listeners (or viewers if you're in TV). This can mean really limited access to time off for the first six months to a year, depending on your company's policies. Working on holidays is also commonplace in anything related to broadcasting, as the media doesn't stop on certain days of the year!

      4. Ratings stress: Radio stations and TV stations use audience measurement ratings tactics to determine how many people in their markets are actively seeking out the media that they're producing. (Nielsen Ratings, operated by Nielsen Media Research, are the most common type of ratings used nationally.) It is a competitive business, you always want to do better than your competition in the ratings, because higher ratings means more advertising dollars for your company and more opportunities for you as a radio personality and for your station in general. Too many years of bad ratings can be detrimental to a person's career- and bad ratings might not have anything to do with the quality of a DJ themselves (it can be the result of a lot of things). Overall so far I've honestly enjoyed working in a business that's ratings based, I think it adds a healthy nature of competition and pressure to my daily work. But obviously my thoughts on that could definitely change, and I've heard scary ratings stories from other friends in the radio industry.

       5. Hard to snack during a radio show: This is such a minor con to list about a job that I really do love, but I had to put it down anyways!! I've always been such a snacker over being a three big meals a day person. I literally snacked my way through high school and college. Anyways, a radio board and the rest of the equipment in the studio is super expensive, and not anything that food should be eaten around. Occasionally on days that I'm starving I'll bring in something non-messy and non-smelly like fruit snacks, but generally speaking I don't eat during the hours that I'm doing my show. The snack lover in me hates this- haha!

      So as you can see, just like any job, radio has its pros and its cons. The pros definitely outweight the cons for me though, and I love being in this industry and can't wait to see where my career will take me (quite literally- with the mobility factor)!

      I'd love to know more about your career- do you find pros and cons with it as well? And as always, please send me topic requests for next month's Radio 101 post!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


  1. LOVE this! I've interned with two nationally-syndicated radio shows and I love radio! It's so cool you get to work in it!

    - Amanda

  2. This was so fun to read! My uncle is in radio, and while he loves it it definitely doesn't pay well either! I've always thought it would be fun to do radio, but I'm way too awkward on a microphone to make that happen.

  3. these are great points! I bet another pro is being able to build your personal brand since you get to build an audience that you can carry over onto social media and hopefully carry with you in your future career! I could be totally off on that though lol

  4. I think it would be so cool to be a radio show host. My personal favorite morning show is the Kidd Kraddick show -- but I think a con, for me, would be the hours. LOL!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

  5. All valid points! I worked in radio through middle and high school - I haven't seen a sound boardO in ages! Haha! It definitely is such a fun industry!

  6. LOL love you listed not being able to snack as a con! I would feel the same way. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons. I don't know much about people that work on the radio. It's sooo awesome!

  7. Wow, I always wanted to know how its like to work as a radio broadcaster!
    Thats so cool!

  8. Radio sounds like such an interesting field to be in! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your day-to-day. I love seeing how other people spend their time.

  9. I think every job has pros and cons for sure, but as long as you love it, that's what it's all about! I loved reading that it makes you smile and I am sure that it's so nice being ahead of the music trends!

  10. Not being able to snack is a big con for me haha.

  11. #3 is something I never thought of! I assumed the DJ was just given a list from the show's segment producer to play!

  12. I interned at a radio station one summer and loved it!


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