Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45

Career In Radio Broadcasting

Suresh Kumar Verma

Twenty first century is the age of Information, Communi- cation and Entertainment (ICE). Mass Media i.e. Radio, T.V, Films, Advertisement, News Media, Newspaper and magazines, has vital role to play in the development of any country and has created numerous job opportunities as well.

     Radio, the grandfather of electronic media is a matchless and exciting medium - handy and personal - which encourages its listeners to develop an unusual association with presenters and stations. Radio Broadcasting is a very effective and cost efficient medium for spreading information, education and entertainment to the masses. Unmatched with other medium of mass communication, radio is persistent, enterprising and friendly. In common with the rest of the creative media, Radio in the last 90 years has gone through various periods of alteration and modification like group listening to personal, analog to digital, AM to FM, Public to Private and Announcer to RJ. It transformed its size, its format, its duration, and its programmes but remained omnipresent not only in developing countries but also in the heart of developed nations. But one thing is sure that Radio needs creative and talented people to fill a range of interesting and diverse roles.

      Radio remains as vital as ever. We have seen a strong tradition of public service broadcasting after getting independence, a flourishing commercial radio industry after the wave of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) and growth of Community Radio as a part of narrowcasting instead of broadcasting in the beginning of this century. Art of Radio broadcasting can only be realized by becoming aware of the nature of the medium in which performers are invisible to their audience. All jobs in radio do require specialized training and qualification but production can be learned through hands on experience.

Aptitude for Becoming a Radio Broadcaster

      The radio industries’ responsibility to the public is very high and deadlines must be met along with quality standards. Radio broadcasters need some specific skills and qualities.  Some of these are developed with experience but others are expected from any media professional.  You can evaluate these for yourself.

      Writing is at the heart of programme broadcast.  Your success in this field is determined by your ability to write well. Good and effective writing is at least as important as your ability to handle the equipment.  As a broadcaster, you should be curious about the world around you.  Since you are in the communication business, read literature, magazines and newspapers and monitor various radio stations and stay informed about current events. You should always develop the ability to capture the essence of a complicated story and then present the essential facts in a clear, concise and interesting manner.  This helps the audience to understand, digest and remember what is presented.

      Broadcaster must learn to work under pressure.  Sometime some programme like news demands deadline.  This requires rigorous discipline and personal commitment to your job.  You will need to be fast and efficient in your habits and to remain calm even when it may seem that the world is falling on you. Good broadcaster likes people.  They are the sources for the stories that you produce.  Listen to what people say, the feeling they reveal because these elements form the basis for your programme.  A broadcaster must treat people with consideration and show empathy. Broadcasting is a heavily regulated industry, field with requirements and recommendation.  Here laws and regulations influence how you cover and report stories.  You will need to know what is permitted and what is not, what is preferred and what is optional.

      Broadcaster must know the capabilities and limitations of the equipments used in production of programmes.  Equipment is part of the reporting tools of the broadcast journalist.  Recorders, microphones, editing software etc  extend the broadcaster’s ability to form a story.

      Common sense is indispensable for a broadcaster.  He must ask question after question to draw out whoever he interviews to learn about less obvious but important aspects of the subject at hand.  He must be inquisitive, perceptive and have a healthy skepticism.  An eager broadcaster must learn as much about as many things as possible and stay intellectually alert.  He must know the reference books and clipping files he should consult to obtain historical and other explanatory information to round off a story.  As a broadcaster gathers experience, he becomes a storehouse of knowledge, and aware of the nature of different organizations.  He must also have the ability to receive information, analyze it and figure out what it means to him, the community and the listeners.  It needs good education and some experience to develop this skill.  More than anything else, a broadcaster must have self-confidence. 

Do I Need to Do a Radio Course?

      A good quality education and sound qualifications hold you in all careers. Most Radio broadcasters have a minimum graduation degree, which can be in any subject. Post graduation in Mass communication or Diploma in this field adds knowledge of Radio Production as it is essential part of its curriculum. There is no need spending heavy amount of money to learn radio through short courses.

      There are three main entry routes into broadcast. In Public service broadcasting graduates after passing audition test and completing Vani certificate course enter into broadcasting on assignment basis. In commercial radio station RJ’s get honorarium on hourly basis or sometimes a fixed package. Community Radio does not allow salary and volunteers can perform even if they do not possess formal education. New aspirants develop their skills on the job. Trainees may follow an experienced broadcaster, assisting in research or arranging interviews, before gradually taking on their own assignments. Employers may offer technical training in the use of recording and editing equipment.
      Career progress is usually by moving to a bigger station or programme.

Work Profile of People working in Radio
Station Directors or Station Managers

      Station Directors or Station Managers are overall incharge/ responsible for the running of Radio stations - leading the programme, engineering and administration staff team to ensure they meet the objectives of the station in terms of output, audience, or revenue. The tasks of a Station Director vary between different types of radio stations, depending on how the station is funded, the size of the organisation to which it belongs, and the division of responsibilities within a station management team. The job is demanding and can involve working long and unpredictable hours.

      Radio Station Director must possess these attributes :

  1. Competence to work effectively under pressure, react quickly, and meet tight deadlines
  2. Aptitude to generate original ideas, and to think creatively about how to communicate them
  3. Excellent communication and presentation skills
  4. Commerce and finance skills
  5. Confidence and decisiveness
  6. Thorough knowledge of the Radio industry, programme styles, audience demographics, law, ethics, copyright and music clearances.

Assistant Station Director

      The Assistant Station Director assists the Director in all matters concerning the planning and production of programmes; he supervises the work of the Programme Executive, Producers and other Production Staff/Staff Artists; he is responsible for the part of programme administration.

The author Suresh Kumar Verma is Asst. Prof. (Radio Production), AJK Mass Communication Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. email:


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