If you’re liking what you’re hearing on the wireless and want a piece of the action (or you hate it and think you could do a better job), then a job as a radio producer could be for you. In a nutshell, a radio producer is the one overseeing the making of a radio show.
Producers manage and work with broadcasting assistants, presenters and DJs, engineers and IT staff. They have to make sure that shows run as planned and that they are tailored to key audience demographics. They may also be responsible for the business and commercial management of a programme.
Producers can work in the publicly funded, commercial or voluntary sectors of broadcasting. Digital radio has increased the amount of available radio stations and programmes.
There are two main types of producer: audio or creative producer and content producer. Audio producers create sounds and audio specifically, while content producers oversee and orchestrate a radio show or feature. The content producer might organise music choices, guests, callers for talk radio or competitions, timings, and overall show content. They also may produce recorded content, from shows to radio commercials and commercial bumpers.
From the audio content of broadcasts via radio, the internet and other mobile platforms, radio producers are across it all! They are involved in the entire process, from generating ideas to managing the audience response after a programme.
What can you expect as a day in the life?
While specific responsibilities vary depending on the programme and station and producers may sometimes also take on the roles of presenters or reporters.
In general, tasks can include:
- generating and researching ideas for programmes and pitching for commissions;
- developing content, writing material for scripts, bulletins and links;
- sourcing potential contributors and interviewees;
- selecting music appropriate to the programme, the audience and the station;
- producing pre-production briefings for presenters, reporters, technical staff and other contributors;
- managing the logistics of getting people, resources and equipment together to the right place at the right time;
- undertaking editing, interviewing and reporting duties as necessary;
- presenting programmes or managing presenters for both pre-recorded and recorded output;
- checking that copyrights are cleared and understanding media law;
- converting text, graphics, video and audio files into other formats;
- contributing to, and making use of, an archive of audio resources which can be re-used;
- responding to audience feedback, referring on to other departments as necessary;
- producing and making use of user-generated content;
- using technology, such as Cool Edit Pro, Pro Tools and Adobe Audition, for editing and production purposes.
What kind of person should you be?
To get anywhere in this role, you’ll need to be able to show:
- excellent written and oral communication skills;
- an ability to work as a part of a team and also independently;
- good organisational skills and an ability to cope under pressure;
- an awareness of current affairs and good general knowledge;
- a real interest in, and curiosity about, all sorts of people;
- a lively mind, able to make connections between different ideas and subjects;
- the ability to get to grips with new subject matter quickly;
- a willingness to embrace new technology and learn technical skills;
- self-confidence, persistence and determination to overcome rejection and break into this competitive industry.
How to get your foot in the door?
The most important quality is a passion for radio, so be clear about why you want to work in broadcast rather than print or television. Be sure to take an interest in the industry, listen to a range of radio programmes, contact other producers with comments on their programmes and make opportunities to meet with people in the industry.
You can also demonstrate your interest in radio via a portfolio of content you have produced yourself, promoting it via podcasts, blogs and across social media.
We had a chat to Gabriella, who is the executive producer on a 2GB radio show to find out what she studied and how she got her foot in the door.
If this sounds like it could be for you, find the course you need.
Or land yourself the dream internship.