Radio personality

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A radio personality at work at WKZV in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1997

A radio personality is a person who has an on-air position in radio broadcasting. A radio personality hosts a radio show is also known as a radio host and in India and Pakistan as a radio jockey.


A radio personality can be someone who introduces and discusses genres of music; hosts a talk radio show that may take calls from listeners; interviews celebrities or guests; or gives news, weather, sports, or traffic information. The radio personality may broadcast live or use voice-tracking techniques.[1]

Increasingly, radio personalities are expected to supplement their on-air work by posting information online, such as on a blog. This may be either to generate additional revenue or connect with listeners.[2]

With the exception of small or rural radio stations, most of what you hear on the radio now is a computer-controlled playlist airing .mp3 audio files. These audio files are the source of the songs you hear, the commercials, and half the time even the radio announcer himself has pre-recorded a "break". Essentially, most radio stations are PC's playing audio files and broadcasting the signal on-air.


The radio personality dates back to 1909 when Ray Newby of California made his debut for Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless.[3] By 1910, radio personalities were active across the United States.[4]

FM/AM radio[edit]

FM/AM personalities play music, talk, or both.[5] Examples are Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern, Elvis Duran, Big Boy, Kidd Kraddick, John Boy and Billy, The Bob and Tom Show, and Rickey Smiley.

Talk radio[edit]

Talk radio personalities often discuss social and political issues from a particular political point of view.[5] Some examples are Rush Limbaugh, Art Bell, George Noory, Brian Kilmeade, Brian Lehrer, and John Gibson.

Sports talk radio[edit]

Sports talk radio personalities are often former athletes, sports writers, or television anchors and discuss sports news.[5] Some examples are Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser, Colin Cowherd, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo.

Satellite radio[edit]

Satellite radio personalities are not subject to government broadcast regulations and are allowed to play explicit music.[5]

Salary in the US[edit]

Radio personality salaries are influenced by years of experience and education. The median salary of a radio personality in the US is $28,400.

  • 1–4 years: $15,200-39,400,
  • 5–9 years: $20,600-41,700,
  • 10–19 years: $23,200-51,200,
  • 20 or more years: $26,300-73,000.

A radio personality with a bachelor's degree has a salary range of $19,600-60,400.[6]

The salary of a local radio personality will differ from a national radio personality. National personality pay can be in the millions because of the increased audience size and corporate sponsorship. For example, Limbaugh makes $40 million annually as part of the eight-year $400 million contract he signed with Clear Channel Communications.[7]

Career opportunities[edit]

Due to a radio personality's vocal training, opportunity to expand their career often exist. Over time a radio personality could be paid to do voice overs for commercials, television shows, and movies.[8]


Universities offer classes in radio broadcasting and have a radio station, where a student obtain on-the-job training and course credit.[9] Prospective radio personalities can also intern at radio stations for hands-on training from professionals. Training courses are also available online.[9]


Some radio personalities do not have a formal education, but many hold degrees in audio engineering.[10] Radio personality typically have a bachelor's in radio-television-film, mass communications, journalism, or English.[11]

Job requirements[edit]

A radio personality position generally has the following requirements:[12][13]

  • Good clear voice with excellent tone and modulation
  • Great communication skills and creativity to interact with listeners
  • Knowledgeable on current affairs and social trends
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Ability to develop their own style
  • A good sense of humor

See also[edit]


  1. ^ L. A. Heberlein - The Rough Guide to Internet Radio 2002 - Page v. "In addition to putting songs together, a good radio host can tell you things you didn't know about the artists, the songs, and the times."
  2. ^ Rooke, Barry; Odame, Helen Hambly (2013). ""I Have to Blog a Blog Too?" Radio Jocks and Online Blogging". Journal of Radio & Audio Media 20 (1): 35. doi:10.1080/19376529.2013.777342. 
  3. ^ Bein, K (Fall 2009). "So You Want to Be a DJ?". Interactive Media Lab, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Schneider, John. "The History of KQW and KCBS San Francisco/San Jose". The Bay Area Radio Museum. Bay Area Radio Museum. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Radio and Television Job Description". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Disc Jockey (DJ), Radio Salary, Average Salaries". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Rush Limbaugh Net Worth". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Radio Jockey: Job Prospects & Career Options". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "ASU Dept. of Radio-TV". Arkansas State University. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Radio Jockey Education and Job requirements". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Announcers". 8 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Radio Jockey education and job requirements". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "RJs Talk About Their Careers in Radio". 1 September 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2015.