Riding the wave – Career in Radio Broadcasting

If you think you can enthrall an unknown and unseen audience with just the audio element, consider a career in radio broadcasting

Sector overview

It has existed since before the television and internet and witnessed several lax phases as a medium, but still stands strong. The humble radio continues to hook on thousands of people each day, day in and day out.

Whether people blast the songs on their world class system in their cars or just clue in with their headphones via their mobiles, they are likely to find a radio station which is going to entertain them on their commute.

Listeners often feel that it is the sheer choice of stations and genres of music that draws them towards the radio, coupled with that element of surprise – which song will they play next. Often, listeners have their own particular favourite shows, which they try to tune into regularly.

This just provides the industry the impetus to grow further. Today, as a mass medium, radio reaches the most interior pockets of the country with a distinct advantage – one does not have to be literate to listen to the radio.

Broadcasters use these details to the utmost advantage to create audience-specific shows. Today, there are more than 250 FM stations spanning in almost 90 cities across the country. It is the sign of growing markets and Jon creation.

According to those working in the industry, the ease of access the radio makes it a popular medium. Others also mention that unlike TV listeners do not need to devote special time to the radio, that can listen while performing other tasks. Plus, with no additional cost needed in terms of purchasing a special device or even paying to listen, the radio is popular.

With so many channels and stations operating almost 24/7, there is definitely a need for trained personnel in this industry for its diverse job descriptions.

To get there

Today, there are several courses that students and aspirants can pursue to enter this field and be trained in the work. With the evolving world, the education services have evolved as well. That’s why, perhaps even if a few years ago an aspirant could have done well without specific training in field, but today it makes sense to pursue a course.

Specialised courses are available for those interested, with different electives and focus, so that aspirants can make an informed choice. These include courses in radio production, broadcast media and script writing, among others. The eligibility is not very strict in terms of educational qualifications, but the version personality traits and qualities that are needed.

Institutes in Mumbai offering courses in radio production and broadcasting include

  • Xavier’s Institute of Communication offers a Certificate Course in Radio Jockeying
  • Radio City School of Broadcasting offers a Certificate Course in Radio Jockey and Radio Production
  • The Mumbai Centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Radio Programme Production (PGDRPP)
  • Livewires Institute offers courses in Radio Jockeying and Script Writing
  • School of Broadcasting & Communication offers a Certificate in Professional Voicing & Radio Jockey
  • Mumbai Film Academy offers courses in Voicing and Anchoring
  • AAT College offers a BSc in Audio and Music Production at its Mumbai centre

Students are advised to check the eligibilities for the different courses. For some courses, it might by passing the class 12 examinations and others might needed graduation.

Students also need to be aware that jobs in radio production may not be regular 9 to 5 kinds of jobs. Students need to be ready to work in shifts and at hours, since that is one of the basic demands.

A student says

Rohini Shroff, Pursuing her course

I hadn’t decided from the beginning that I would take up this course. After my graduation mass media, I signed up for it. I have learnt so many new things that I have learnt a short span, and I’m still learning. It is an eye opener, as in reality, the operations are so different from what one would really imagine. The working of a studio is an essential element that provides for a lot of practical training for students.

Most of our teachers come from real world radio backgrounds, and are either working in the industry or have experience in the field.

We learn how to ideate, plan and run  audio programme production. Students learn to understand various radio formats and also learn the best fitting format for a particular type of speed l show.

We also learn to recognise the kind of research that goes in – for understanding what to present in the structure a show as well as think of what kinds shows to plan for what segments, keeping in mind the time frame.

As far as the skills for this profession are concerned, the first and foremost I’d to start thinking terms of audio, that is, creating the impact only with sounds and words, no visuals. Aspirants also need to be patient and have a knack to work in a team.

Market and remuneration

There is a vast market with diverse roles radio production. Students often know the most popular one – which is being a radio jockey. But there are other production jobs, as well as jobs in back end research, in addition to marketing and sales.

Profiles directly related to broadcasting include the producer, production and support staff and the jockeys.

During the process, a major role is played by the broadcast assistant, providing for the needs anyone related to the show. This person makes sure that everything is in order for a particular show at the designated time.

A radio station might have more than one production assistant and they ensure the smooth airing of any programme.

The presenters of the shows are the radio jockeys who are usually popular with the listeners. Each jockey has a unique way of talking and usually develops a personal style in hosting the shows. This is essential since radio is an audio medium and the faces of the jockeys are not visible. Their identity is usually set by their style of presenting. To listeners it may seem that jockeys make the essential decisions, but that’s not actually the case. It is the producers who oversee the entire process, and look into defining the programming, looking into the script and the other content.

There are other functions to be taken care of, and these are done by station directors and mangers, including looking into personnel management.

Since there are so many roles and designations, the remuneration differs in roles and among employers. A fresh graduate can start anywhere between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 35,000 per month, depending on the work profile, talent, expertise and knowledge.

An aspirant asks

Ayush Saraf, BCom student

At the time of deciding my study path, I two drawbacks, and that’s why I took up BCom. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted do in future, and also my marks were average. But now that I have read about the field of radio, I’m really fascinated by the production part of it. I have two difficulties. First is that I am not very fluent in English, and the second is that I don’t want to work another city. How much of a problem would these issues pose?

A professional answers: first, you should know that if your confidence levels are linked your head to your fluency in English, it will pose a problem in any profession you take up, since it’ll be in your head. I suggest you try and improve your language skills, so you would be more confident. As far as radio production is concerned, there are stations operating in Hindi, so you could try for one of those.

I guess many students, like you, want to work in Mumbai and are averse to moving to another city. In this field is it possible to stay within Mumbai and work. I should however, mention, that often promotions in terms of higher designations and more responsibilities come often with transfers, when expansions take place in other cities and towns. I think you can take a call when you come to that phase of your life.

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