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What Announcers and DJs Do About this section

Radio and television announcers
Radio and television announcers present news and opinions and take calls from listeners.

Announcers present news and sports or may interview guests on media such as radio and television. Disc jockeys (DJs) act as masters of ceremonies (emcees) or play recorded music at weddings, parties, or clubs.

Duties

Announcers and DJs typically do the following:

  • Present music and information on radio or television shows or at venues
  • Interview guests on their shows
  • Research topics for comment and discussion during shows
  • Read prepared scripts on radio or television shows or at venues
  • Provide commentary for the audience during events
  • Select program content
  • Introduce upcoming acts and guide the audience through the entertainment
  • Make promotional appearances at public or private events

Broadcast announcers and radio DJs present music or the news, sports, traffic, and weather. Announcers are expected to be up to date with current events or a specific field, such as politics or sports, so that they can comment on these issues during their programs. In addition, they schedule guests on their shows and work with producers to develop other creative content. Radio DJs typically specialize in one kind of music genre and announce selections as they air them. They may take requests from listeners, manage radio contests, or announce traffic conditions.

Broadcast announcers and radio DJs also may be responsible for other aspects of television or radio programming. They may operate studio equipment, sell commercial time to advertisers, or develop advertisements and other recorded material. At many radio stations, they do much of the work traditionally done by editors and broadcast technicians, such as broadcasting program schedules, commercials, and public service announcements.

Many broadcast announcers and DJs maintain a presence on social media sites. Establishing a presence allows them to promote their stations and engage with their audiences, especially through listener feedback, music requests, or program contests. They also make promotional appearances at charity functions or other community events.

The following are examples of types of broadcast announcers and radio DJs:

  • Podcasters stream live or record shows that can be downloaded for listening at any time. Like traditional talk radio, podcasts typically focus on a specific subject, such as sports, politics, or movies. Podcasters may interview guests and experts on the specific program topic. Listeners may subscribe to a podcast to have new episodes automatically downloaded to their computer or mobile devices.
  • Talk show hosts may work in radio or television and specialize in an area of interest, such as politics, personal finance, sports, or health. They contribute to the preparation of program content, interview guests, and discuss issues with viewers, listeners, or the studio audience.

DJs, except radio play prerecorded music for live audiences at a variety of venues or events, including clubs, parties, and wedding receptions. The following are examples of types of DJs, except radio:

  • Emcees host planned events. They introduce speakers or performers to the audience. They may tell jokes or provide commentary to transition from one speaker to the next.
  • Party DJs are hired to provide music and commentary at an event, such as a wedding, a birthday party, or a corporate party.

Work Environment About this section

Radio and television announcers
Radio and television announcers work with a variety of studio equipment.

Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys held about 25,000 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys were as follows:

Radio broadcasting 72%
Television broadcasting 10
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 4
Educational services; state, local, and private 3
Other information services 1

Disc jockeys, except radio held about 15,300 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of disc jockeys, except radio were as follows:

Food services and drinking places 12%
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 11
Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries 4

Broadcast announcers and radio DJs usually work in well-lit, temperature-controlled, soundproof studios. Some radio DJs produce and record their shows while working from home.

DJs, except radio work in a variety of settings, either indoors or outdoors or both. They travel to the location of the event they are hosting.

The pressure of deadlines and tight work schedules may be stressful.

Work Schedules

Work schedules for announcers and DJs vary and may include early mornings, late nights, weekends, or holidays. Part-time work also may be common.

How to Become an Announcer or DJ About this section

Radio and television announcers
Many announcers have a bachelor’s degree as well as experience working with radio and television equipment.

Entry requirements for announcers and DJs vary. Broadcast announcers and radio DJs typically need a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications; experience gained from internships or working at a school radio or television station is helpful. Other types of DJs typically need a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.

Education

Broadcast announcers and radio DJs typically need a bachelor’s degree in communications, broadcasting, or journalism. However, some jobs may be available for workers who have a high school diploma or equivalent. DJs, except radio typically need a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.

Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have hands-on skills or knowledge. High school and college students interested in a career as an announcer or DJ may benefit from taking speech classes and participating in opportunities to practice public speaking. These may include making announcements on their school’s public address system, working at their school’s radio or television station, or serving as an emcee at events. Internships also may be available, although they are often limited to college students.

Training

Radio and television announcers whose highest level of education is a high school diploma or equivalent also may need some short-term on-the-job training to learn how to operate audio and production equipment.

Advancement

Because radio and television stations in small markets have limited staff, advancement within the same small-market station is unlikely. Rather, many broadcast announcers and radio DJs advance by relocating to a large-market station. These larger markets often offer higher pay and more responsibility and challenges than do small markets.

When making hiring decisions, large-market stations rely on workers' personalities and past performance. Broadcast announcers and radio DJs need to have proven that they can attract, engage, and keep the attention of a sizeable audience.

Important Qualities

Business skills. DJs, except radio who are self-employed must be able to market themselves and identify clients. They also need to manage the details of their business, including billing, budgeting, and other financial matters.

Computer skills. Announcers and DJs, especially those seeking careers in radio or television, should be comfortable using editing software and other broadcast-related devices.

Interpersonal skills. Broadcast announcers and radio DJs interview guests, answer phone calls on air, and may interact with listeners on social media. Party DJs and emcees should be comfortable working with clients to plan entertainment options.

Persistence. Entry into this occupation is very competitive, and candidates may need to audition many times for an opportunity to work on the air. Entry-level broadcast announcers and radio DJs must be willing to work for a small station to secure their first job.

Research skills. Announcers and DJs must research important topics of the day in order to be knowledgeable enough to comment on them during their program.

Speaking skills. Announcers and DJs must have a pleasant and well-controlled voice, good timing, and excellent pronunciation. Party DJs and emcees must be comfortable speaking to large audiences.

Writing skills. Announcers and DJs need strong writing skills because they normally write their own material.

Pay About this section

Announcers and DJs

Median hourly wages, May 2021

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

$24.61

Total, all occupations

$22.00

Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys

$18.09

Announcers and DJs

$18.03

Disc jockeys, except radio

$15.70

 

The median hourly wage for broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys was $18.09 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.99, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49.56.

The median hourly wage for disc jockeys, except radio was $15.70 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.68, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37.98.

In May 2021, the median hourly wages for broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Television broadcasting $29.23
Other information services 29.13
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 28.73
Educational services; state, local, and private 23.26
Radio broadcasting 16.92

In May 2021, the median hourly wages for disc jockeys, except radio in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries $23.18
Food services and drinking places 15.15
Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries 14.67

Work schedules for announcers and DJs vary and may include early mornings, late nights, weekends, or holidays. Part-time work also may be common.

Job Outlook About this section

Announcers and DJs

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Disc jockeys, except radio

7%

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

7%

Total, all occupations

5%

Announcers and DJs

-4%

Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys

-11%

 

Overall employment of announcers and DJs is projected to decline 4 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Despite declining employment, about 3,500 openings for announcers and DJs are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Projected employment of announcers and DJs varies by occupation (see table).

Continuing consolidation of radio and television stations will limit employment growth of broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys (DJs). In addition, over-the-air radio broadcasts will continue to face competition from an increasing number of online and satellite radio stations. More listeners are tuning in to these stations, which can be personalized, reducing the number of listeners to traditional radio broadcasts and decreasing the demand for radio DJs.

DJs, with the exception of radio DJs, will be in demand to play prerecorded music for live audiences at venues or events such as clubs, parties, and wedding receptions.

Employment projections data for announcers and DJs, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Announcers and DJs

40,300 38,600 -4 -1,700

Broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys

27-3011 25,000 22,200 -11 -2,800 Get data

Disc jockeys, except radio

27-2091 15,300 16,400 7 1,100 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about the broadcasting industry, in which many announcers and DJs are employed, visit

National Association of Broadcasters

CareerOneStop

For a career video on broadcast announcers and radio disc jockeys, visit:

Broadcast Announcers and Radio Disc Jockeys

O*NET

Broadcast Announcers and Radio Disc Jockeys

Disc Jockeys, Except Radio

Video