Educational requirements for announcers vary. Radio and television announcers typically need a bachelor's degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications, along with work experience gained from internships or working at their college radio or television station. Public address announcers typically need a high school diploma. Both occupations will typically need some short-term on-the-job training.
Although public address announcers do not need any formal education beyond a high school diploma, radio and television announcers should have a bachelor's degree to be competitive for entry-level positions. Radio and 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 and audio 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 include 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 audio and production 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 cohosts 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.
Many 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.
Computer skills. Announcers, especially those seeking careers in radio or television, 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.