Career Profile: Community News Manager
Many people dream of someday being on the radio or television. They imagine how exciting life could be if they could be like the stars they see in movies, or at least the people they hear talking on the radio every week. Sometimes, the managers of community radio stations can give them that chance.
Most radio stations have staff members who look after the technical aspects of the broadcasts, as well as the people who actually interview guests, play music, and give weather and news reports. They also have production managers who make sure that everything is working well, and who deal with hiring and firing people.
A community radio station is a bit different. Most of the people working at these stations are volunteers who have ideas about what they would like to broadcast but who might have little or no formal training. They might stay for years, or they might try being on radio for a few months and then move on to something else.
Managers in community radio stations have to make sure that they have enough people to cover all of the timeslots, or they have to find helpers who can do that work. Volunteers tend to come and go, but managers can help ease the process by finding one or two good employees who can help.
Besides working with the day-to-day running of radio stations, managers have to make sure that the financial and business aspects are in place. In Canada, all radio stations need approval from the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission), which also sets guidelines for aspects of broadcasting such as the amount of Canadian content. Managers need to make sure that volunteers know and meet these standards.
Another task is fundraising. Many community radio stations, especially in colleges and universities, have some funding from sources like student fees, but these fees normally cover only part of the money necessary to keep the station going. Many other people help with finding donations, but managers need to take responsibility for ensuring that enough fundraising happens to keep the station alive.
Managers for commercial radio stations normally need at least a Bachelor’s degree, and they might earn close to $100,000 per year. At community radio stations, the pay is likely to be much lower, and the educational requirements might not be very high. However, getting a bachelor’s degree is still a good idea for learning about the various topics that hosts and guests might discuss and for working with people in the community.
Because community radio stations normally run with only a few paid staff, managers might need to work in several different areas, such as hosting shows or conducting training. They need to be flexible and be willing to work at whatever needs to be done.
Being a community radio station manager can be a lot of fun when the volunteers and staff work well together and find a good way to connect with their audience. However, you must be a well- rounded person that adapts well to change and real time problem solving. If you enjoy working with people and expressing your ideas on the radio, this job might be the one for you!