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If you’re looking to kick-start your career into radio, there are many reputable broadcasting schools that you can use as the springboard to entering the competitive radio world. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s the only way to get your foot in the door.
It’s all about getting your foot in the door, and not just getting your voice on the air.
In every industry, getting started in the career of your choice almost never starts with landing that “dream job” right off the bat. In radio, it’s just not a reasonable expectation that your first gig is necessarily going to be behind a mic. Your local radio station has plenty of gigs that will put you inside the door and just down the hall from the studio. Don’t overlook the possibility of starting out as a promotions assistant, sales assistant or even in the mail room. Take a look at the job boards for some of the bigger radio groups and small radio stations and consider applying for something, even if it’s part-time, just to get you in a radio station environment and in the direct line-of-sight of broadcasting managers. We’ve all heard the adage; “You’ve gotta’ start somewhere.” This is a great place to start.
Interviewing for that entry gig.
Be upfront and as honest as possible with the employment decision-maker at the radio station. Tell the potential employer that you’re looking to use an entry-level gig as a stepping stone to move on to bigger and better opportunities at the station. Trust me, they’ll love it. Managers love motivated employees that are sincerely interested in moving up in the company. Still, it’s important to be realistic with the interviewer. Tell them that you understand that you’ve got a long way to go and that you’re willing to start at the “bottom” and work your way up learning as much as possible along the way. Be enthusiastic but show some humility. Broadcast managers are used to hearing grandiose plans from unrealistic applicants, be realistic yet enthusiastic.
Where Broadcasting School can help.
The biggest advantage of attending a school is that they get you over the hump of the basics. You’ll become familiar with equipment, how a radio station runs and “feels,” voice training and dozens of tangible and intangible things that can help kick-start your career. Still, even with training at a Broadcasting School, you’re going to have to start in a smaller market and wear a lot of hats, and you may not even land that gig on-air for your first job anyway. Is Broadcasting School helpful to get your foot in the door? Sure. But you might be able to jam it in all by yourself anyway!
About the Author: John Ford.
John's extensive career in the Broadcasting industry includes roles as a Program Director, Talk Host, DeeJay, Creative Service Director, Producer and Consultant in multiple top 10 markets and on the Network level. John has held positions in management and as a talent at: WIOD-Miami, ABC Radio Networks, WLLZ-Detroit, KZPS and KDGE Dallas, WSHE and WZTA Miami, Greenstone Media and as the VP of New Media for Sabo Media. John also has worked with numerous traditional print and new media clients as a writer and as a consultant overseeing Internet start-ups with Parade Magazine, National Geographic and APB News.com. He currently lives in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida pursuing his passions as a Production and Programming Consultant, Talent Coach, Writer, On-Air Talent, Webmaster and Songwriter. John can be found on-line at JohnFord.net