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 require 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 that they would work with at radio and television studios.
Public address systems 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 may also go over basic rules and information for the sports they are covering.
Because smaller market stations have smaller staff, advancement within the same radio or television station is unlikely. Rather, many radio and television announcers advance by relocating to a station in a larger market.
Announcers typically require a few years at a smaller market to work out the “kinks” of their on-air personalities. They learn to sound more comfortable and credible as an on-air talent and become more conversational with audiences and guests. Therefore, time and experience allows applicants to advance to larger markets with higher pay and more responsibility and challenges.
When making hiring decisions, large market stations rely on announcers’ personalities. 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 are important in increasing advancement opportunities.
Larger stations also rely on radio and television announcers to do other tasks that the station needs. Therefore, an applicant needs to have demonstrated versatility and flexibility at the smaller market in duties 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.
Appearance. Television announcers need a neat, pleasing appearance.
Computer skills. Announcers, especially those seeking radio careers, should have good computer skills and be able to use computers, editing equipment, and other broadcast-related devices.
People skills. Radio and television announcers may interview guests and answer phone calls on air. Party DJs and emcees work 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 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.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition