Job Descriptions, Definitions Roles, Responsibility: Announcers

Announcers in radio and television perform a variety of tasks on and off the air. They announce station program information, such as program schedules and station breaks for commercials, or public service information, and they introduce and close programs. Announcers read prepared scripts or ad-lib commentary on the air, as they present news, sports, weather, time, and commercials. If a written script is required, they may do the research and writing. Announcers also interview guests and moderate panels or discussions. Some provide commentary for the audience during sporting events, at parades, and onbother occasions. Announcers often are well known to radio and television audiences and may make promotional appearances and remote broadcasts for their stations.

Radio announcers often are called disc jockeys (DJs). Some disc jockeys specialize in one kind of music, announcing selections as they air them. Most DJs do not select much of the music they play (although they often did so in the past); instead, they follow schedules of commercials, talk, and music provided to them by management. While on the air, DJs comment on the music, weather, and traffic. They may take requests from listeners, interview guests, and manage listener contests.

Newscasters, or anchors, work at large stations and specialize in news, sports, or weather. (See the related statement on news analysts, reporters, and correspondents elsewhere in the Handbook.) Show hosts may specialize in a certain area of interest, such as politics, personal finance, sports, or health. They contribute to the preparation of the programís content, interview guests, and discuss issues with viewers, listeners, or the studio audience.

Announcers at smaller stations may cover all of these areas and tend to have more off-air duties as well. They may operate the control board, monitor the transmitter, sell commercial time to advertisers, keep a log of the stationís daily programming, and produce advertisements and other recorded material. Advances in technology make it possible for announcers to do some work previously performed by broadcast technicians. At many music stations, the announcer is simultaneously responsible for both announcing and operating the control board, which is used to broadcast programming, commercials, and public-service announcements according to the stationís schedule. (See the statement on broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators elsewhere in the Handbook.) Public radio and television announcers are involved in station fundraising efforts.

Changes in technology have led to more remote operation of stations. Several stations in different locations of the same region may be operated from one office. Some stations operate without any staff overnight, playing programming from a satellite feed or using programming that was recorder earlier, including segments from announcers.

Announcers frequently participate in community activities. Sports announcers, for example, may serve as masters of ceremonies at sports club banquets or may greet customers at openings of sporting goods stores.

Although most announcers are employed in broadcasting, some are employed in the motion picture production industry. Public address system announcers provide information to the audience at sporting, performing arts, and vother events. Some disc jockeys announce and play music at clubs, dances, restaurants, and weddings.