get into the radio bizness
November 17, 2006 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody know about the Broadcast Training Network? Is it a reliable school for broadcasting? Does its system work? Is it a good school? Or are they quacks looking for a quick buck?

I'm interested in getting a career in radio broadcasting and am exploring options on schools. Any help and suggestions towards furthering this goal would be most helpful.
posted by ashbury to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am speaking from experience as a working radio broadcaster:

BTN is not always great. The guys who run BTN have many contacts, but they really play up the 'experience' of the internships they dole out rather than the 'after my internship I...' experiences. That said, roughly 70% of people who study broadcast journalism abandon the profession after three years because of fatigue or lack of jobs or both.

BTN will get you a great internship. It won't, however, teach you writing, editing, booking, producing, or give you techniques beyond the basics when it comes to hosting. Something like 95% of people who enter broadcasting do so for the reason of being on radio or TV, which is why there is such a smog around journalism school IMHO.

If you are serious about getting into broadcasting and don't want to do a masters (most of which are print journalism with a few broadcasting workshops in them), then there are still lots of options....

1. Contact your local public radio station and find out about volunteering in their production or news department. This is how I got started and the experience of working on live news is the best education you can get if you want to be in broadcasting.

2. Contact local commercial stations and find out about working on their promo or street teams, which is a good way of moving up the ladder.

3. Search out local DJs or broadcasters you admire and contact them with questions about how they got where they did. I, and most of my peers, love getting e-mails and calls like this. Why? Because broadcast journalism is not as easy as it looks or sounds, and we appreciate people telling us that.

4. Consider learning journalistic writing. It's very important that people who want to do radio can write active and strong copy, and one of the most obvious things employers will look for. If you want to work for a commercial station, learning copywriting will be a plus, because they'll expect you to sell in addition to host if that's what you're looking to do.

5. If you've made it this far into this post I should mention some programs that are really broadcast oriented and are worth the effort if you're really interested. The best, for the money are UCE Birmingham (my alma mater), which does a total radio training with a six-week internship (which got me a job at the BBC); and the Salt Institute in Maine. It's totally radio-oriented and is a fantastic training ground.

And, for God's sake, if you really do want to be a broadcaster learn to interview people. I'm not talking about interviewing your roommate! Go out into the street and start shoving the microphone in people's faces, it's a skill so few people bother to learn when they decide they want to get into radio.
posted by parmanparman at 1:09 PM on November 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you parmanparman, for this very concise response. You have some great advice which I'm going to follow.
posted by ashbury at 9:32 PM on November 17, 2006

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