TV-Radio Station Manager  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotStation managers have quite a full range of duties. At the top of the list is keeping the staff motivated and happy.

That can be a very big job, but the reward is worth it. Happy salespeople sell more advertising and happy announcers keep listeners tuned in. Communication is important at every level in broadcasting.

Keeping up with the technical end is also a big part of a manager's day. From the computers that keep the shows running smoothly to the cameras and microphones, a good manager has to know how everything works.

Working with the advertising staff to develop new promotions is important too. The industry is very fast paced. Viewers and listeners will quickly switch to another station if they aren't entertained or informed the way they like.

Often, this means conducting polls to find out what the audience wants. Some stations have on-air promotions that involve the community and other companies. This means the manager has to work well with people outside the company.

dotSome radio and TV stations are community owned. These often offer public access to the station's facilities for private individuals and groups to make their own shows. They can be fun to work at because the format and business requirements aren't so rigid.

Many people get their start in broadcasting at these stations. Since the staff is often small, many managers work as on-air personalities and technicians too. It's a great way to gain experience without the pressure of a commercial station.

Schools and universities often have campus stations. These are typically small outfits. The manager and staff are usually enrolled in the school's communications or journalism programs. Their instructor will often be the honorary station manager.

Aside from teaching duties, the instructor will do all the usual manager work. This means coping with an ever-changing staff from semester to semester. Andy Marlow is the station manager of the radio station at the University of Minnesota. "Students are coming and going all the time; the station changes often and quickly," he says.

dotThere is little travel involved with most positions. Usually the only travel will be to meet with out-of-town owners or to attend a meeting or trade show.

Hours are pretty typical -- Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 is normal. But at some places, managers start around noon and go home around 7 or 8 p.m. Some places have flexible hours.

"I have never had two days the same," says radio station manager Jeff Delvaux. "Hours are flexible, but you usually work 7 to 5, Monday to Friday."

dotWhile many TV stations broadcast local news and sports as well as network shows, some television stations are cable providers. This means they receive TV programs over the air with huge satellite dishes and then send them to homes over cable. This is common in small towns.

These stations may not produce any shows of their own. The station manager's role will be more technical and administrative, though certainly not less interesting.

dotRadio stations are looking at a much different world. Since there are so many entertainment options for people to access, they have to be more creative. Managers have to continually look for new and different ways to keep listeners tuning in.

Many stations now broadcast on the Internet as well as over the airwaves and cable.

At a Glance

Keep a station running smoothly

  • Managers have to work well with people outside the company
  • You have to find new ways to attract audiences
  • Training in broadcasting or journalism is a good place to start