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Music Radio Personality

"In the past I might have been called a “disc jockey,” but as with most things in the broadcast media business, times have changed. My clever on-air banter seems random and spontaneous, but the messages I deliver are intentional. My word choice, diction and anecdotes are all designed to appeal to and hold a specific demographic, which might change if I’m working for a country music versus a classic rock station. I spend hours each day preparing material for my show. I’m also active on social media before, during and after I’m on-air, connecting with our audience. On the weekends I sometimes do live remotes to promote our advertising clients. Those short “live hits” into our regular programming are another fun way to meet the public. Now that I’m more senior, I get involved in feature programming opportunities such as interviewing artists for exclusive segments. I also work with the music director to pre-record our weekly top-40 countdown show. I’ve always enjoyed music, but the real payoff for me is the opportunity to connect to listeners in our city."

Salary Range:

$30,000 - $75,000

The Tip

Private radio remains a viable and sustainable industry, especially for FM stations, despite satellite services and mobile apps and the rise of music streaming services. such as print.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
  • Expertise in verbal and written use of language

  • Ability to develop a compelling narrative

  • Ability to develop evidence-based content

  • Ability to generate new approaches to familiar stories

  • Link content with a specific audience

Great at
  • Apply expertise in media-focused subject areas (current affairs, sports, entertainment, weather)

  • Apply deep understanding of media needs, practices and news cycles

  • Research

  • Ability to create and edit content for digital applications

Good at
  • Execute a promotional strategy

  • Data analytics

  • Visual and audio recording and editing

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Communication (broadcast media studies)

  • Other education paths could include: a Bachelor of Communication majoring in journalism or a diploma in broadcast or media production from a college or technical institute


"In university I had a strong sense early on that I wanted to work in private music radio. I volunteered on a street team for a station I really loved and hung out at the station a lot. The on-air staff were really helpful in offering me career advice and letting me sit in on their shows. Before I graduated I had an entry-level position lined up in a small market in the same company, and a clear sense of how to work my way back to the station I had volunteered at."

Employment Experiences:
  • I hosted my own rap and hip-hop show on campus radio every year I was in university

  • I joined the campus improv comedy club and performed in our annual improv festival

  • I started at a small country music station in Saskatchewan. After two years I hosted the flagship morning show.

  • Four years after I graduated, I was back at the big market station where I started as a volunteer, working alongside the people who had mentored me. I worked the night shift for the first while, but now I’m in a prominent daytime slot.


"I recognized the value of working for a large media company early on. The broadcast business often involves cutting your teeth in a small market where you can put in lots of hours in key roles, but the stakes aren’t as high. I was able to move from street team volunteer to a small market morning host to co-hosting a drive-home show in a major market because one employer saw my potential and watched my skill development. I love the company I work for."

Community Experiences:
  • I help organize a local indie music festival and emcee many of the events and performances associated with it


"My work schedule is quite demanding, but this work relates to my love of alternative music and allows me to support and stay plugged into the local music scene. It’s also a terrific opportunity to interact with listeners."

Contextual Experiences:
  • For the last five years I’ve done an annual two-week “pilgrimage” to take in some of the top music acts in North America. I’ve spent time in New York, Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville and Toronto seeing as many acts as I can.


"Though not as exotic as going on safari, my travels have taught me a lot about the music business around the continent, and given me insight into the influences of culture, politics and race on music and life."

  • I help put together a monthly “free-sheet” newspaper on the local music scene with other broadcasters, writers and musicians


"I’m always trying to learn more about music and the industry and working with people with similar interests but outside the radio station allows me to do that."

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