A radio host is someone who broadcasts a news or speciality show on a radio station. Radio hosts line up guests to come into the studio, or interviews to be conducted by phone. They report and analyse news related to their program--such as general news, sports or anything from woodworking to classic cars. Sometimes, radio hosts broadcast talk programs, in which they take calls from listeners.
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Radio hosts must know how to operate a switchboard that takes calls. They repeatedly give phone numbers (often toll free) that listeners use to call the show and offer their own take on the topic. Most radio hosts who broadcast talk shows offer insights and opinions on a topic, along with general information and facts. Radio hosts work with producers who not only let them know when a commercial break is coming up, but add important elements to the host’s show, such as sound effects, music and, occasionally, their own input. Sometimes, they broadcast shows via the Internet, also called podcasts.
Radio hosts need to be outstanding communicators and extremely knowledgeable about their topic--or, in the case of some, many topics. They should have strong research skills, be up-to-date with current events and trends, and come across as confident and an expert in their field while on the air. As well, radio hosts need to possess a strong knowledge of the equipment used for broadcasting, such as microphones, switchboards and news wires. Radio hosts also must speak clearly and use proper grammar.
The majority of radio hosts need an associate's or bachelor’s degree in broadcasting before being hired. Many have spent time working as reporters--either in television, radio or newspapers. Sometimes, hosts are hired merely by displaying an expertise in their field, perhaps having spent time as an analyst on another show. Areas of study for aspiring radio hosts typically include journalism, broadcasting, communications, public speaking and English.
Opportunities for radio hosts are likely to fluctuate with the rest of the broadcast industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in that industry overall are expected to grow by 7 per cent from 2008 to 2018. However, radio jobs are expected to decline, the BLS reported, mostly because of the rise of MP3 players and satellite stations.
Radio hosts have the potential to make a nice living, provided they have enough listeners and work in the right market. According to PayScale.com, radio hosts earned anywhere from £18,200 to more than £41,600 per year in April 2010.
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