How to Become a Radio Host
Radio Host Careers & Degrees

Radio Hosts provide entertainment, play music and make a variety of announcements to their listeners.

It is very competitive to enter this profession; individuals who want to enter this field must be prepared to be persistent, network and work themselves up to be successful.

The work one needs to put into getting into this field can be a lot, but attaining this level of success may be worth all the sacrifice and hard work.

Individuals who want to become a Radio Host will need a combination of education, job experience and personal characteristics to enter this profession.

Individuals are encouraged to have strong writing and speaking skills, interpersonal skills, persistence and researching skills.

These skills will help individuals enter and succeed in this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Radio Host

Individuals who want to become a Radio Host will need a postsecondary degree from an accredited university of college to be competitive at the entry level.

In addition, individuals are encouraged to gain on the job experience and training through an internship to gain the skills in the field.

Some universities and colleges may offer a degree that focuses on broadcasting.

For individuals who attend a postsecondary school that does not provide this degree, they can opt to study communications or journalism to help them become a Radio Host.

A broadcasting college program will typically provide the foundational skills needed to speak in public.

Some typical courses include voice and diction and classes that will help students have a radio friendly voice that is distinguishable and unique.

Broadcasting programs will also prepare students to handle the advance technological equipment used at radio stations; this includes radio equipment and computer software.

Individuals are also highly encouraged to seek nonpaying or low paying job opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Because of the demand, some internships do not pay a wage meaning some individuals will need to be enrolled as a student, work and complete an internship.

However, this type of training is hard to find and many interns gain some valuable on the job experience by not getting paid.

Some individuals may also opt to intern after they graduate from college meaning they would need to supplement their living expenses by also working a paid job.

Radio Host Job Description

Radio Hosts are professionals who are experienced in providing entertainment, news and announcements to their listeners.

The best known quality to enter this field is having a strong and distinctive voice that will attract listeners.

But Radio Hosts are also experienced in handling complicated technological equipment to work with and the ability to gain a listener’s attention with the material they speak about and the commentary they provide.

Radio Hosts work well within time limits and know how to listen for cues to know when to speak on air.

They will also use their skills to interview a variety of people including celebrities and artists.

Radio Host Salary and Career Path

Radio Hosts are also considered Announcers.

In 2012, the median salary for Announcers who worked in radio and television was approximately $28,020 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience, geographical location and popularity of a Radio Host’s show or time slot.

Radio Hosts working in a larger market such as a city compared to a small town, where there are less listeners, earn higher wages.

Many Radio Hosts also work part time which affects their take home pay.

The job outlook for Radio Hosts and other announcers is expected to experience little to no growth; job growth for television and radio hosts is expected to add no jobs through the year 2022.

As technology improves on a constant basis, its growth tightens the market for radio airwaves which ultimately impacts job opportunities in this field.

In addition, radio stations are able to perform more tasks with better technology and fewer staff.

However, internet radio is a market in which Radio Hosts can easily transfer to.

Individuals who want to become a Radio Host will have to work hard to move up the ladder in order to enter this profession.

Some individuals may start in smaller markets and provide material for the night shift to gain experience until they are qualified to produce shows and radio spots for larger audiences.

Climbing the ladder to be successful in this field may take time and persistence, but the level of success one can achieve in this profession cannot be downplayed.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$62,400
$24K
$31K
$62K
$75K
$117K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$66,810
Alaska$46,020
Arizona$62,430
Arkansas$37,210
California$67,870
Colorado$60,300
Connecticut$62,100
Delaware$53,020
District of Columbia$103,320
Florida$62,580
Georgia$68,780
Hawaii$64,490
Idaho$38,940
Illinois$59,780
Indiana$51,630
Iowa$34,050
Kansas$44,450
Kentucky$51,970
Louisiana$56,910
Maine$41,610
Maryland$64,940
Massachusetts$49,250
Michigan$43,380
Minnesota$57,130
Mississippi$37,790
Missouri$48,320
Montana$34,250
Nebraska$43,140
Nevada$54,010
New Hampshire$45,260
New Jersey$50,730
New Mexico$47,090
New York$90,160
North Carolina$45,420
North Dakota$46,790
Ohio$57,940
Oklahoma$44,370
Oregon$42,020
Pennsylvania$46,230
South Carolina$52,230
South Dakota$35,880
Tennessee$45,280
Texas$52,660
Utah$65,670
Vermont$48,350
Virginia$63,970
Washington$65,660
West Virginia$39,600
Wisconsin$42,870
Wyoming$30,070
Puerto Rico$57,340

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $103,320.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $103,320
New York - $90,160
Georgia - $68,780
California - $67,870
Alabama - $66,810
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists, OCC Code 27-3023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a radio host?

Radio hosts work for a radio station where they host radio shows.

Their job main responsibilities include introducing and interviewing guests and reading the news, but they may also have additional roles, depending on the station where they work.

Some radio hosts comment on important news stories and select program content.

They may also have many additional responsibilities, such as operating studio equipment, selling commercial time to advertisers and doing the work that is traditionally done by editors.

Nowadays, many radio hosts have to maintain a presence on social media in order to promote their stations and connect with their audiences.

QuestionHow much does a radio host make?

Salaries for radio hosts vary depending on the level of experience and the employer.

The average annual salary is somewhere around $40,000 but experienced hosts usually earn way more than this.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for radio and television announcers, in general, was $33,220 as of May 2018 but the actual salary depends on the announcer’s experience and reputation.

Some radio and television announcers earn less than $20,000 a year, while others make an annual wage of over $90,000.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a radio host?

Although there are no strict educational requirements for this profession, aspiring radio hosts can pursue a degree in broadcasting, journalism or a related field.

Tuition costs for four-year bachelor’s degree programs in broadcasting can be anywhere between $50,000 and more than $150,000, depending on the college and the program you choose.

Students who participate in a college program in broadcasting study voice and diction, and learn how to work with audio equipment and software used by radio stations.

Most new employees also receive on-the-job training.

QuestionWhat is the demand for radio hosts?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for radio and television announcers, in general, is projected to decline 7 percent from 2018 to 2028 but as more internet radio stations and podcasts appear, radio hosts can move their activity to online platforms.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a radio host?

Many radio hosts hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting or a related field.

Earning your bachelor’s degree will take you around 4 years.

Some colleges and schools also offer radio production courses and classes in this field are also available online.

You can start your career by seeking employment on an entry-level position and, as you gain more experience you can be promoted to positions with more on-air time and responsibilities.

Some radio hosts begin their career by working at a smaller radio station where they gain a few years of experience and, as they advance in their career they move to bigger stations where they are paid better and have a larger audience.

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