Presenters are generally self-employed on fixed-term contracts to deliver a set number of shows with a specified salary per show.
Broadcast presenters work for the BBC, national independent radio and television companies and local/regional radio stations. Opportunities may also arise with independent television and radio production companies. Key responsibilities include:
- writing and rehearsing scripts
- meeting with programme directors/producers to discuss programmes/shows
- choosing and playing music
- organising meetings, interviews and schedules
- undertaking relevant background research
- interviewing guests via the telephone or in person
- presenting traffic, weather and/or news summaries
- giving reviews of newly released books, films, music etc
- providing programme links
- operating technical equipment, such as radio ‘desks’.
Most jobs occur in major cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. Vacancies attract intense competition, with many receiving little or no advertising. Consequently, candidates need stamina, enthusiasm, determination and perseverance to succeed. Opportunities are advertised via the internet, in newspapers, and specialist publications such as The Stage and Broadcast. Networking, job shadowing, speculative applications and sector research are essential.
There are routes into broadcasting for both university graduates and school leavers.
Applicants with qualifications in journalism, communication/media studies, music technology, performing arts, English and media performance may be preferred. Specific degree subjects may be required for specialist programmes.
A genuine interest in, knowledge of and/or experience of television/radio is essential.
It is important to gain as much paid (or unpaid) work experience as possible – this may be as a broadcast assistant, actor, producer or news-gatherer, or via self-employment as a club/private disc jockey (DJ). Voluntary work for student newspapers/radio stations and local/hospital radio and television stations can also be helpful.
To find out how to get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, visit the media section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Employers seek confident and creative candidates who are adaptable, calm and able to work well under pressure. Good organisation, communication, team-working and problem-solving skills are also necessary.