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Keen competition is expected for many jobs, particularly in large metropolitan areas, because of the large number of jobseekers attracted by the glamour of this industry. Job prospects will be best for applicants with a college degree in broadcasting, journalism, or a related field, and relevant experience, such as work at college radio and television stations or internships at professional stations. In this highly competitive industry, broadcasters are less willing to provide on-the-job training, and instead seek candidates who can perform the job immediately. Many entry-level positions are at smaller broadcast stations; consequently, workers often must change employers, and sometimes relocate, in order to advance.

 
 
 

 

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Networks transmit their signals from broadcasting studios via satellite signals to local stations or cable distributors. Broadcast signals then travel over cable television lines, satellite distribution systems, or the airwaves from a station’s transmission tower to the antennas of televisions and radios. Anyone in the signal area with a radio or television can receive the programming. Cable and other pay television distributors provide television broadcasts to most Americans. Although cable television stations and networks are included in this statement, cable and other pay television distributors are classified in the telecommunications industry.

Radio and television stations and networks broadcast a variety of programs, such as national and local news, talk shows, music programs, movies, other entertainment, and advertisements. Stations produce some of these programs, most notably news programs, in their own studios; however, much of the programming is produced outside the broadcasting industry. Revenue for commercial radio and television stations and networks comes from the sale of advertising time. The rates paid by advertisers depend on the size and characteristics (age, gender, and median income, among others) of a program’s audience. Educational and noncommercial stations generate revenue primarily from donations by individuals, foundations, government, and corporations. These stations generally are owned and managed by public broadcasting organizations, religious institutions, or school systems.

Establishments that produce filmed or taped programming for radio and television stations and networks—but do not broadcast the programming—are in the motion picture industry. Many television networks own production companies that produce their many shows.

Seventy-three percent of workers within the broadcasting industry work in television and radio broadcasting, with 34 percent employed in radio and 39 percent in television. Cable and other program distributors compensate local television stations and cable networks for rebroadcast rights. For popular cable networks and local television stations, distributors pay a fee per subscriber and/or agree to broadcast a less popular channel owned by the same network. Only 27 percent of workers within the industry work in cable broadcasting.

[ Excerpted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition - Broadcasting ]