Announcers present music, news, and sports and may provide commentary or interview guests about these topics or other important events. Some act as masters of ceremonies (emcees) or disc jockeys (DJs) at weddings, parties, or clubs.


Radio and television announcers typically do the following:

  • Present music, news, sports, the weather, the time, and commercials
  • Interview guests and moderate panels or discussions on their shows
  • Announce station programming information, such as program schedules and station breaks for commercials, or public service information
  • Research topics for comment and discussion during shows
  • Read prepared scripts on radio or television shows
  • Comment on important news stories
  • Provide commentary for the audience during sporting events, at parades, and on other occasions
  • Select program content
  • Make promotional appearances at public or private events

Radio and television announcers present music or the news and comment on important current events. 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. They may research and prepare information on current topics before appearing on air. In addition, announcers schedule guests on their shows and work with producers to develop other creative content.

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

Many radio and television announcers increasingly maintain a presence on social media networking sites. Establishing a presence allows them to promote their stations and better engage with their audiences through listener feedback, music requests, or program contests.

Many radio stations now require DJs to update station websites with show schedules, interviews, or photos.

Public address system and other announcers typically do the following:

  • Meet with event directors to review schedules and obtain other event details
  • Present information or announcements, such as train schedules or security precautions
  • Introduce upcoming acts and guide the audience through the entertainment
  • Provide commentary for a live audience during sporting events
  • Make promotional appearances at public or private events

The duties of public address system announcers vary greatly depending on where these announcers work. For example, a ringmaster at a circus directs the audience’s attention to the appropriate act. A public address system announcer’s role is to enhance the performance and entertain and inform the audience. They may prepare their own scripts or improvise lines in their speeches.

Train announcers are responsible for reading prepared scripts containing details and data related to train schedules and safety procedures. Their job is to provide information rather than entertainment.

Public address system announcers for a sports team may have to present starting lineups (official lists of players who will participate in an event), read advertisements, and announce players as they enter and exit a game.

The following are examples of types of announcers:

DJs broadcast music for radio stations. They typically specialize in one kind of music genre and announce selections as they air them. While on air, DJs comment on the music being broadcast as well as on weather and traffic conditions. They may take requests from listeners, interview guests, or manage listener contests.

Talk show hosts may work in radio or television and specialize in a certain 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 or radio audience.

Public address system announcers provide information to the audience at sporting, performing arts, and other events.

Party DJs are hired to provide music and commentary at an event, such as a wedding, a birthday party, or a corporate party. Many DJs use digital files or portable media devices.

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.

Work Environment

Radio and television announcers held about 41,300 jobs in 2012. About 70 percent were employed in the radio and television broadcasting industry, and about 24 percent were self-employed. These self-employed workers can record their shows at home and sell them to networks, individual stations, advertising agencies, or other independent producers.

Public address system and other announcers held about 10,700 jobs in 2012. About 32 percent worked in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry, and about 25 percent were self-employed.

Radio and television announcers usually work in well-lit, air-conditioned, soundproof studios.

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

Work Schedules

Although most announcers work full time, many work part time.

Many radio and television stations are on air 24 hours a day. Some announcers present early morning shows, when most people are getting ready for work or commuting. Others do late-night programs.

The shifts, however, are not as varied as in the past. Technology has allowed stations to eliminate most of the overnight hours, because shows that air during the night can now be recorded earlier in the day.

Education and Training

Educational requirements for announcers vary. Radio and television announcers typically have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications, along with work experience gained from working at their college radio or television station. Public address announcers typically need a high school diploma, along with short-term on-the-job training.


Although public address announcers do not need any formal education beyond a high school diploma, radio announcers should have a bachelor’s degree to be competitive for entry-level positions. Television announcers typically need a bachelor’s degree in programs such as communications, broadcasting, or journalism.

College broadcasting programs offer courses, such as voice and diction, to help students improve their vocal qualities. In addition, these programs prepare students to work with the computer equipment and software used at radio and television studios.


Public address system and other announcers typically need short-term on-the-job training upon being hired. This training allows these announcers to become familiar with the equipment they will be using during sporting and entertainment events. For sports public address announcers, training also may go over basic rules and information for the sports they are covering.

Radio and television announcers may also need some short-term on-the-job training to learn to operate the station’s equipment. Many employers, however, expect applicants to have some basic skills prior to employment. Applicants typically gain these skills from their college degree program, work on the college radio or television station, or previous internships.


Because radio and television stations in smaller markets have smaller staff, advancement within the same small-market station is unlikely. Rather, many radio and television announcers advance by relocating to a station in a larger market.

Announcers typically need a few years at a small-market station to work out the “kinks” of their on-air personalities. During that time, they learn to sound more comfortable and credible as an on-air talent and become more conversational with their audiences and guests. Therefore, time and experience allow applicants to advance to positions in larger markets, which offer higher pay and more responsibility and challenges.

When making hiring decisions, large-market stations rely on announcers’ personalities and past performance. Radio and television announcers need to have proven that they can attract, engage, and keep a sizeable audience. Therefore, ratings for an announcer’s show in the smaller market can effect advancement opportunities.

Large-market stations also rely on radio and television announcers to do other tasks, such as creating and updating a social media presence on social networking sites, making promotional appearances on behalf of the station, or even selling commercial time to advertisers. Therefore, an applicant needs to have demonstrated versatility and flexibility at the smaller market station.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Announcers, especially those seeking careers in radio, should have good computer skills and be able to use computers, editing equipment, and other broadcast-related devices.

Interpersonal skills. Radio and television announcers must be able to interview guests and answer phone calls on air. Party disc jockeys (DJs) and emcees should be comfortable working with clients to plan entertainment options.

Persistence. Entry into this occupation is very competitive, and many auditions may be needed for an opportunity to work on the air. Many entry-level announcers must be willing to work for a small station and be flexible to move to a small market to secure their first job.

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

Speaking skills. Announcers must have a pleasant and well-controlled voice, good timing, and excellent pronunciation.

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


The median annual wage for radio and television announcers was $28,020 in May 2012. 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 $17,270, and the top 10 percent earned more than $78,630.

The median annual wage for public address system and other announcers was $26,230 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,370, and the top 10 percent earned more than $70,890.

In general, announcers working in larger markets earn more than those working in smaller markets.

Although most announcers work full time, many work part time.

Many radio and television stations are on air 24 hours a day. Some announcers present early morning shows, when most people are getting ready for work or commuting. Others do late-night programs.

The shifts, however, are not as varied as in the past. Technology has allowed stations to eliminate most of the overnight hours, because shows that air during the night can now be recorded earlier in the day.

Job Outlook

Employment of announcers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

Employment of radio and television announcers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022. Employment of public address system and other announcers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Improving technology and consolidation of radio and television stations will limit the employment growth for radio and television announcers. Many stations are able to do more tasks with less staff. Advancements in digital technology continue to increase the productivity of radio and television announcers and reduce the time required to edit and distribute material or do other off-air technical and production work.

In addition, radio stations use voice tracking, also called “cyber jockeying,” which allows radio announcers to prerecord their segments rather than air them live. A radio announcer can record many segments for use at a later date or even on another radio station.

This technique allows stations to use fewer employees, while still appearing to air live shows. It has eliminated most late-night shifts and allowed multiple stations to use material from the same announcer.

Consolidation among broadcasting companies also may contribute to increasing use of syndicated programming and programs originating outside a station’s viewing or listening area.

Despite these limiting factors, the growing number of national news and satellite stations may increase the demand for local radio and television programs. Listeners want local programs with news and information that are more relevant to their communities. Therefore, to distinguish themselves from other stations or other media formats, stations are adding a local element to their broadcasts.

In addition, Internet radio may positively influence employment growth. Startup costs for Internet radio stations are relatively lower than the costs for land-based radio. These stations can cheaply target a specific demographic or listening audience and create new opportunities for announcers.

Demand for public address system announcers will remain stable. These announcers will continue to present important information to customers or provide entertainment for special events.

Job Prospects

Strong competition is expected for jobs as a radio or television announcer. Many of the openings will be due to people leaving jobs and the need to replace workers who move out of smaller markets or out of the radio or television field entirely.

Consolidation of stations has decreased the demand for radio and television announcers and pushed experienced announcers into medium and smaller market stations. Therefore, an entry-level announcer may be competing with an on-air announcer who already has years of experience.

Applicants need to be persistent and flexible because many entry-level positions will require moving to a smaller market city. Small radio and television stations are more inclined to hire beginners, but the pay is low.

Those with a formal education in journalism, broadcasting, or mass communications and with hands-on work experience at a radio or television network will have the best job prospects.

In addition, because announcers may be responsible for gathering video or audio for their programs or for updating and maintaining the station’s website, multimedia and computer skills are beneficial.

For More Information

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

National Association of Broadcasters

For more information on sports public address announcers, visit

National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers