Radio producers oversee the entire process of producing a radio program that can appeal to the target audience. They generate creative program concepts, source program contributors, edit interviews and news scripts, and direct the radio crew when the show is on air. Although community and commercial radio stations are the primary employers of radio producers, others find jobs in radio academies and independent companies that produce content for radio stations.
Using the Skills
To thrive in this job, radio producers must be creative individuals with excellent storytelling skills. When producing an interactive talk show for teens, for example, they should be able to come up with interesting and educative topics -- such as what happens when technology meets art -- and find the best way to communicate the message to the audience. Solid planning and clear communication skills are also important, as producers must schedule interviews with program contributors and issue instructions to the radio crew. The ability to exercise editorial judgment is crucial too, because radio producers determine whether various pieces of audio content are suitable for broadcast.
Managing the Production Process
The work of radio producers starts long before a program -- whether live or recoded -- hits the airwaves. In the example of the teen talk show, the producer may begin by researching the target listeners to identify issues that are popular among them. To do this, he may invite feedback on the station’s social media pages. Next, he sources suitable program contributors and interviewees, and gives them a brief description of their role in the show. When the show is on air, the producer directs the program host, technical staff and contributors, and determines when the show goes on a commercial break. After the show, the radio producer analyzes the listeners’ feedback and uses his findings to better the program.
Ensuring Compliance and Other Duties
Radio producers have a duty to ensure all broadcasts comply with relevant federal and state broadcasting laws and regulations. For example, if a prerecorded talk show chooses to interview program contributors on the telephone, the producer ensures the contributor is informed that the conversation will be broadcast, in accordance with the Communications Act. Other duties of radio producers include securing licenses for broadcasting copyrighted music, obtaining site permits for broadcasting, recording shows on-location and managing program budgets.
Aspiring radio producers should earn a bachelor’s degree in radio or audio production or a closely related field such as media production. Those who obtain an associate degree oftem begin as broadcasting assistants, and work their way up through positions such as associate producers and finally to this job. Producers who gain several years of experience and earn an advanced credential, such as a master’s degree in media production, enhance their chances of finding employment as production directors in media organizations that run several radio stations. These directors oversee radio production across all the stations.
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