A broadcast assistant helps the producer and does the administration needed to plan and put on a radio programme. They research for background information on topics that form the content of radio programmes, and help with different aspects of planning and producing the programmes.
You could be:
work with producers and other professionals to discuss research requirements
typing and sending out scripts and schedules and taking notes during meetings
booking studios, equipment and technical crews
producing running orders and programme logs
looking after programme guests and contributors
coming up with ideas for shows or items on shows
timing the slots, operating studio equipment, editing audio and archiving past programmes
dealing with financial and copyright admin
finding and interviewing guests to take part in programmes.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries vary, depending on:
whether you are in radio or television
whether you are freelance.
Salaries for broadcast assistants with the BBC are usually around £19,000 a year rising to around to £29,000 with experience (outside London). Starting salaries in local radio stations tend to be around £13,000 to £16,000 a year.
You would work sometimes in a studio and sometimes in an office.
Your working hours will be long and irregular – the media business runs 24 hours 7 days a week.
You sometimes have to travel to attend meetings, or to go on location for outside broadcasts.
You might be away from home at times.
The work can be demanding, with tight deadlines to meet.
Many broadcast assistants have a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in a subject such as media, journalism or public relations but IT skills, and experience and contacts in broadcasting, are also important. Around two thirds of people working in radio are graduates.
You should have a good general knowledge of the broadcasting industry and the programmes of the radio station where you want to work.
You need to have work experience in broadcasting. You could get this through hospital, student or community radio.
It helps to have a showreel of productions you have worked on.
Some broadcasting companies ask for language skills.
It helps to have experience in journalism or broadcasting. Posts often go to those already within the organisation doing other jobs, such as an entry level position like runner (See Runner).
Entry is very competitive and many jobs are short-term contracts.
Training is mainly on the job though short technical courses.
The BBC offers a one-year Production Advanced Trainee Scheme. If you get a place, you work on four different placements on programmes across the UK. Check the websites of other television companies for similar schemes.
ScreenSkills has information on a range of courses. Along with the British Film Institute (BFI) they run a database to help those in the industry choose relevant courses.
BBC Academy offers online and face-to-face courses in technical and operational radio skills.
With a lot of experience you could move on to be a producer.
The BBC offers its staff the chance to work in other related jobs through work shadowing or job swapping placements. This can help staff to develop their skills, make contacts and change job or programme.
It helps if you can move location.
Self-employment and freelance work are common.
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