Occupation Profile for Public Address System Announcers

Make announcements over loud speaker at sporting or other public events. May act as master of ceremonies or disc jockey at weddings, parties, clubs, or other gathering places.

 
 

Significant Points

  • Competition for announcer jobs will continue to be keen.
  • Jobs at small stations usually have low pay, but offer the best opportunities for inexperienced announcers.
  • Applicants who have completed internships or have related work experience, and those with computer skills, may have an advantage in the job market.
  • Employment is projected to decline.

 

 
 
Overview
$24,990.00 Median Annual Wage 0 Average Job Openings Per Year
5.9 Average Unemployment Percentage 26.2 Percentage That Completed High School
12,000 Employment Numbers in 2006 35.7 Percentage That Had Some College
12,000 Employment Numbers in 2016 (est.) 38.1 Percentage That Went Beyond College Degree

Sample Job Titles
Announcer
Barker
Bingo Caller
Commercial Announcer
Disc Jockey (DJ)
Disk Jockey (DJ)
Emcee
Entertainer
Event Planner
Host/Hostess
Master of Ceremonies (MC)
Mobile Disc Jockey (Mobile DJ)
Motion Picture Narrator
Narrator
Public Address Announcer
Ringmaster
Sports Announcer
Track Announcer
Train Announcer
Train Caller

Training
  • These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, pharmacy technicians, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
  • These occupations usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job-related course work. In some cases, an associate's or bachelor's degree could be needed.
  • Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience may be helpful in these occupations, but usually is not needed. For example, a teller might benefit from experience working directly with the public, but an inexperienced person could still learn to be a teller with little difficulty.
  • Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.

Entry into this occupation is highly competitive, and postsecondary education or long-term on-the-job training is common. Trainees usually must have several years of experience in the industry before receiving an opportunity to work on the air. An applicant’s delivery and—in television—appearance and style is important.

Education and training. Formal training in broadcasting from a college, a technical school, or a private broadcasting school is valuable. These programs prepare students to work with emerging technologies, a skill that is becoming increasingly important. Many announcers have a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as communications, broadcasting, or journalism. High school and college courses in English, public speaking, drama, foreign languages, and computer science are valuable, and hobbies such as sports and music are additional assets.

Individuals considering enrolling in a broadcasting school should contact personnel managers of radio and television stations, as well as broadcasting trade organizations, to determine the school’s reputation for producing suitably trained candidates.

Announcers are often required to complete long-term on-the-job training. This can be accomplished at campus radio or TV facilities and at commercial stations while students serve as interns. Paid or unpaid internships provide students with hands-on training and the chance to establish contacts in the industry. Unpaid interns often receive college credit and are allowed to observe and assist station employees. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act limits the amount of work that unpaid interns may perform in a station, unpaid internships are more common than paid internships. Unpaid internships sometimes lead to paid internships, however, which are valuable because interns do work ordinarily performed by regular employees and may even go on the air.

Once hired by a television station, an employee usually starts out as a production assistant, researcher, or reporter and is given a chance to move into announcing if they show an aptitude for on-air work. A beginner’s chance of landing an on-air job is remote. The best chances for an on-air job for inexperienced announcers may be as a substitute for a familiar announcer at a small radio station or on the late-night shift at a larger station. In radio, newcomers usually start out taping interviews and operating equipment.

Other qualifications. Announcers must have a pleasant and well-controlled voice, good timing, excellent pronunciation, and correct grammar. College broadcasting programs offer courses, such as voice and diction, to help students improve their vocal qualities. Television announcers need a neat, pleasing appearance as well. Knowledge of theater, sports, music, business, politics, and other subjects likely to be covered in broadcasts improves one’s chances for success. Announcers, especially those seeking radio careers, should have good information technology skills and be capable of using computers, editing equipment, and other broadcast-related devices because new advances in technology have made these abilities increasingly important. Announcers also need strong writing skills, because they normally write their own material. In addition, they should be able to ad lib all or part of a show and to work under tight deadlines. The most successful announcers attract a large audience by combining a pleasing personality and voice with an appealing style.

Advancement. Announcers usually begin at a station in a small community and, if they are qualified, may move to a better paying job in a large city. They also may advance by hosting a regular program as a disc jockey, sportscaster, or other specialist. Competition for employment by networks is particularly intense, and employers look for college graduates with at least several years of successful announcing experience.

Nature of Work

Radio and television announcers perform a variety of tasks on and off the air. They announce station program information, such as program schedules and station breaks for commercials, or public service information, and they introduce and close programs. Announcers read prepared scripts or make ad lib commentary on the air, as they present news, sports, the weather, time, and commercials. If a written script is required, they may do the research and writing. Announcers also interview guests and moderate panels or discussions. Some provide commentary for the audience during sporting events, at parades, and on other occasions. Announcers often are well known to radio and television audiences and may make promotional appearances and do remote broadcasts for their stations.

Announcers at smaller stations may cover all of these areas and tend to have more off-air duties as well. They may operate the control board, monitor the transmitter, sell commercial time to advertisers, keep a log of the station’s daily programming, and produce advertisements and other recorded material. Advances in technology make it possible for announcers to do some work previously performed by editors and broadcast technicians. At many music stations, the announcer is simultaneously responsible both for announcing and for operating the control board, which is used to broadcast programming, commercials, and public-service announcements according to the station’s schedule. Much of the recorded material that used to be on records or tape is now in the form of digital files on computers. Public radio and television announcers are involved in station fundraising efforts.

Changes in technology have led to more remote operation of stations. Several stations in different locations of the same region may be operated from one office. Some stations operate overnight without any staff, playing programming from a satellite feed or using programming that was recorded earlier, including segments from announcers.

Announcers frequently participate in community activities. Sports announcers, for example, may serve as masters of ceremonies at sports club banquets or may greet customers at openings of sporting goods stores.

Radio announcers who broadcast music often are called disc jockeys (DJs). Some DJs specialize in one kind of music, announcing selections as they air them. Most DJs do not select much of the music they play (although they often did so in the past); instead, they follow schedules of commercials, talk, and music provided to them by management. While on the air, DJs comment on the music, weather, and traffic. They may take requests from listeners, interview guests, and manage listener contests.

Some DJs announce and play music at clubs, dances, restaurants, and weddings. They often have their own equipment with which to play the music. Many are self-employed and rent their services out on a job-by-job basis.

Show hosts may specialize in a certain area of interest, such as politics, personal finance, sports, or health. They contribute to the preparation of the program’s content, interview guests, and discuss issues with viewers, listeners, or the studio audience.

Public address system announcers provide information to the audience at sporting, performing arts, and other events.

Work environment. Announcers usually work in well-lighted, air-conditioned, soundproof studios. Announcers often work within tight schedules, which can be physically and mentally stressful. For many announcers, the intangible rewards—creative work, many personal contacts, and the satisfaction of becoming widely known—far outweigh the disadvantages of irregular and often unpredictable hours, work pressures, and disrupted personal lives.

The broadcast day is long for radio and TV stations—many are on the air 24 hours a day—so announcers can expect to work unusual hours. Many present early-morning shows, when most people are getting ready for work or commuting, while others do late-night programs. The shifts, however, may not be as varied as in the past because new technology is allowing stations to eliminate some of the overnight hours.

Related Occupations

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)
Earnings

Salaries in broadcasting vary widely, but generally are relatively low, except for announcers who work for large stations in major markets or for networks. Earnings are higher in television than in radio and higher in commercial broadcasting than in public broadcasting.

Median hourly earnings of wage and salary radio and television announcers in May 2006 were $11.69. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.10 and $18.62. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.55, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $32.98. Median hourly earnings of announcers in the radio and television broadcasting industry were $11.52.

Median hourly earnings of wage and salary public address and other system announcers in May 2006 were $12.02. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.41 and $19.38. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $6.73 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $29.69.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Radio and television announcers
  • Public address system and other announcers
  • Job Outlook

    Competition for jobs as announcers will be keen because the broadcasting field attracts many more jobseekers than there are jobs. Furthermore, employment of announcers is projected to decline. In some cases, announcers leave the field because they cannot advance to better paying jobs. Changes in station ownership, format, and ratings frequently cause periods of unemployment for many announcers.

    Employment change. Employment of announcers is expected to decline moderately by 7 percent from 2006 to 2016. Increasing consolidation of radio and television stations, the advent of new technology, and growth of alternative media sources, such as satellite radio, will contribute to the expected decline. Consolidation among broadcasting companies may lead to an increased use of syndicated programming and programs originating outside a station’s viewing or listening area. Digital technology is increasing the productivity of announcers, reducing the time required to edit material or perform other off-air technical and production work.

    Job prospects. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace those who transfer to other kinds of work or leave the labor force. Nevertheless, competition for jobs as announcers will be keen because the broadcasting field attracts many more jobseekers than there are jobs. Small radio stations are more inclined to hire beginners, but the pay is low. Applicants who have completed internships and those with related work experience usually receive preference for available positions. Job seekers with good computer and technical skills also will have an advantage because announcers are now doing more of the computer work that was previously carried out by technicians. In radio, announcers are increasingly using computers to edit their programs. Because competition for ratings is so intense in major metropolitan areas, large stations will continue to seek announcers who have proven that they can attract and retain a sizable audience. Announcers who are knowledgeable about business, consumer, and health news also may have an advantage over others. While subject-matter specialization is more common at large stations and the networks, many small stations also encourage it. There will be some opportunities for self-employed DJs who provide music at clubs and special events but most of these jobs will be part time.

    Employment

    Announcers held about 71,000 jobs in 2006. About 42 percent of all announcers worked part time. About 54 percent were employed in radio and television broadcasting. Another 30 percent were self-employed freelance announcers who sold their services for individual assignments to networks and stations, to advertising agencies, other independent producers, or to sponsors of local events.

    Knowledge
    • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
    • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
    • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
    • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
    • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
    Skills
    • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
    • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
    • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
    • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
    Abilities
    • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
    • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
    • Explosive Strength — The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
    • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
    • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
    Tasks
    • Supplemental — Furnish information concerning plays to scoreboard operators.
    • Core — Inform patrons of coming events at a specific venue.
    • Core — Meet with event directors in order to review schedules and exchange information about details, such as national anthem performers and starting lineups.
    • Core — Announce programs and player substitutions or other changes to patrons.
    • Core — Read prepared scripts describing acts or tricks presented during performances.
    Activities
    • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
    • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
    • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
    • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
    • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
    Related College Curriculum
     
    Featured Online Colleges
     
    For more online colleges, click here.
     
    Colleges Offering Curriculum
     
     
     
     
     
     

    JOB SEARCH