The radio is a source of enjoyment, entertainment, and information. Listeners enjoy the magic of radio, but there are many people to thank for those listeners never hear. Radio stations, be they commercial or publicly funded, have a corporate structure to enable station operations to run smoothly, and provide material for your listening enjoyment. A corporate structure is a grouping of different positions and departments within the same company which have different functions, but work in harmony to promote the company's interests.
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A station manager is responsible for the day to day operation of the radio station. He is responsible for all departments, from sales to engineering. The station manager must also insure that the station adheres to federal rules and regulations. He can act as a liaison between the staff and the owners of the station, and makes certain that the staff maintains the owners' standards. To that end, the station manager is usually responsible for hiring and training new employees, and he also has final approval of the station's format.
The operations manager is the second in command at a radio station for those stations which choose to employ one. She is responsible for coordinating scheduling of daily on-air activity including program recordings, promotions, continuity and underwriting as well as coordinating daily operation. The operations manager must have good hearing to be able to monitor and maintain sound quality. Also, the operations manager must train staff in FCC requirements.
The program director plans each day's radio program, and also gives the on-air staff and recording engineer the material that needs to be covered in the live broadcast. He insures that the radio show runs as it is supposed to, and that all of the required content makes it to the air. The program manager finds the music or other content for his live show, making certain that the standards of the station are maintained. This position involves working with the station manager to make sure that the ratings are calculated and advertisers are satisfied. Normally, a program director is in charge of one show with the same staff.
The sales team sells on-air advertising. Advertising sales are the province of commercial radio stations, whereas public radio stations rely largely on donations. The sales team is led by a manager, whose job is to ensure that the sales team is meeting its quotas and supporting them in clinching deals. Selling advertising in radio is much like selling advertising in print media or online. Customers must be identified, their needs must be identified, and then their needs must be satisfied. A good sales team will successfully find new customers, yet still nurture current accounts.
The engineering staff take care of the technical aspects of broadcasting. This department is led by the chief engineer, whose responsibilities include supervising the engineering staff, purchasing and maintaining equipment and adhering to FCC standards. The engineering staff is responsible for making sure that the radio programs are actually broadcast. Engineers also mix music, edit tracks and use the fade in/out function, among other things. Maintaining sound quality, signal strength and clarity are also integral parts of the engineer's job.
On-air personalities are the most audible part of a radio station's corporate structure. They are the voice of the station. Disc jockeys select and play music as well as provide a brief introduction or background about the song. In addition, disc jockeys provide news briefs, weather reports and traffic updates. Radio show hosts usually run talk shows in which listeners call in. Sometimes, guests are interviewed. Like many of their counterparts in other departments, on-air staff need to adhere to FCC rules and regulations as well as maintain the standards of the station.
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