It used to be that people just turned on their televisions at dinner time (6 p.m.) to watch the news and then maybe check the news out again before bedtime. Over the years, with technological advancements and a growing hunger for news from a variety of aspects of life, broadcast media has grown into a monster of sorts. News is available 24/7 on the radio and television, with informational shows constantly available as well. Some channels and stations are even dedicated to one aspect, such as sports, politics or entertainment.
This growing penchant for news on everything from the latest trends in exercise to what our local governments are doing has fueled a variety and great number of jobs. The obvious are the news anchors and reporters, but behind them is a myriad of people that keep these newscasts and shows popping with the latest information and technology, while also looking good.
One thing is common among many of the people that are on the air, and that is that they usually have some training in journalism. Many anchors and reporters have to write their own copy – the material that gets on the air – and so they have taken classes or gone to school to learn what makes good copy. Writing for broadcast media in itself is a skill. Barbara Walters, one of the most renowned broadcasters in the world, started as a behind-the-scenes writer for NBC’s “Today Show.” While a college degree is helpful, it is not necessary, but it would be to your advantage to take a course in journalism and learn how to write in a news style.
Become a TV Anchor
Television and even radio personalities have one thing in common – they are confident. Indeed, it takes a lot of confidence to sit and face cameras, knowing that your words and your face are being broadcast to thousands and possibly millions of people. A lot of successful anchors today have backgrounds in public speaking, for example. It’s not just a matter of sitting in front of a desk and reading from a teleprompter. Anchors have years of experience and many started as reporters. Learn from experts how to gain the confidence it takes to become a successful and confident TV anchor.
Another high-end and highly visible job in broadcast media is working in sports. While there is a trend in hiring former successful athletes to host sportscasts and anchor sports shows, a lot of the sportscasters that do play-by-play games and comment on the air are just people that love sports and studied to be experts in particular fields. Chris Berman, probably the most recognized and decorated sportscaster related to football (although he does cover other sports), was not an athlete. In fact, Berman studied history in college. He has turned his love of sports into a very lucrative career.
Whether you are an aspiring broadcaster or a seasoned professional looking to make that move into sports casting, this course is a must, as it provides an inside look into this exciting industry.
Weather the Storm
Most broadcasts have someone who only deals with the weather. Even in cities such as Las Vegas, where the weather is only basically hot or warm, there is a weather person. It used to be weatherman, but over the years, women have become popular in this position as well. A lot of weather broadcasters are meteorologists, but it’s not absolutely necessary. A course in predicting the weather could help you land a weather broadcaster position for a small town TV or radio station.
One thing about this position is that it is one where a lot of time is spent out in the community, covering public interest events and teaching kids about weather. It is as much a public relations gig as it is about predicting the weather.
Behind the Scenes
There are a myriad of jobs for those wanting to be in on the air and/or in front of the camera, but there are also numerous jobs behind the camera as well. You would be surprised how many professionals it takes to put together one half-hour broadcast.
On-air personalities depend on a lot of behind-the-scenes people to make what they do look easy. Some broadcast media careers may require years of training and formal education, while others are accessible for the right person who is enthusiastic, focused and willing to learn and work away from the camera, or at least operate it!
- Indeed, someone has to operate the cameras that are used for the broadcast as well as the on-the-scene reports. It takes more than one cameraperson for a news production, as the anchors and reporters are often seen from different angles. A lot of camera operators came up in the business through trade schools and even from university studies. But if you have an eye for good video and the ability to stay focused on the subject matter, you could be ripe for a position as a cameraperson. Check out this course in video production training, which could help you land a job in broadcast media, or at the least sharpen your skills in video production.
- Someone has to bring it all together – the writers, what stories go on the air, making sure the stories are cued, coordinating the length of the stories, handling the different personalities – and this is the producer. This is possibly the most important person of all, as this is who makes it all look smooth. He/she is an expert at coordinating, organizing and executing a broadcast.
- Another team member of a broadcast media production is the assignment editor. He/she is responsible for gathering possible news items, assigning reporters and camera people to go out and cover a situation, and looking into satellite feeds. He/she tends to operate in conjunction with the producer as the lead logistics person.
- Camera people just don’t film what’s going on; there is a chief engineer that coordinates all the technical aspects of the broadcast, such as where the cameras are, what’s hooked up where and making sure all the equipment, from the teleprompters to the mics on remote reporters outside of the station are working properly. This requires someone who is knowledgeable about technology, from cameras to the cables that connect it all.
- There are also writers who are responsible for generating the copy for much of the broadcast. There are often production assistants as well, who will work under the producer and chief engineer.
And of course there is the business side. Without a general manager, sales staff and administrative staff to generate money, handle paperwork and legal issues, there wouldn’t be a broadcast in the first place. After all, broadcast media is a business, big business at that!
One thing that many people may not be aware of is that most anchors and even most reporters wear make-up. While a lot of them will learn to do it themselves, there are many who will use make-up professionals. This is especially true to the big broadcasts on major TV networks. Some television personalities even have their own personal make-up artists. This is not the kind of make-up that you put on to go out to a club or go to your office or for a date. Television lights are strong and will reveal any blemish or slightest discoloration. Make-up artists that are used by television professionals are highly skilled people. It’s not something you can learn at the local department store. It’s a specialty that requires certain skill sets and knowledge. Being a make-up artist for broadcast media can be a very lucrative career once you develop the skills and reputation to make people that go under big lights look good.
There are many opportunities in broadcast media. With a little training and desire, it’s possible to have a career before you know it.