Presenters and announcers are the 'anchors' of broadcasting. They have a high-profile role that demands great technical expertise as well as an outstanding communication style.
Presenters are found in news and documentary programmes, and on sports, music, entertainment, reality and children's shows. They may introduce material ranging from political analysis, to pop music and quizzes, or weather forecasts. They must communicate by building a rapport with the unseen audience.
While presenters may have to 'ad lib' - responding spontaneously to events - announcers are more likely to work from a script. They include newsreaders and continuity announcers who introduce and link different programmes on a network.
Depending on the role, tasks may include:
Presenters and announcers work as part of a team with directors, producers, floor managers, camera, sound and lighting operatives, and other colleagues.
In radio, the job may include running the control desk during a programme. In TV, presenters may read scripts from an autocue.
The role can be highly pressured, particularly if a programme is going out live. A recorded show may require many 'takes' to achieve the right effect.
While on the air, presenters may need to respond to requests from the director, fed through an earpiece - for example, they might be asked to cut short an interview to make sure the show runs to schedule.
The hours vary, depending on the type of show. Some presenters and announcers have to work long and irregular hours to complete shows, including early, late or night shifts.
Many of the most experienced and best-known presenters work freelance.
The work is office-based, with the on-air work taking place in studios. Presenters may also work on location, which can mean outdoor work in all weathers. A driving licence is useful.
In TV, a meticulous appearance is important. Make-up is usually applied to counter the effects of the lighting before going on camera.
Starting salaries may be around £14,000 a year.
The main employers include:
The number of opportunities is increasing with the growth of digital and satellite channels. However, competition for jobs is still very fierce.
Vacancies may be advertised in Ariel, The Stage and The Guardian. However, some jobs are not advertised, so it is important to have good contacts and a profile in the industry.
There are no set entry qualifications, but a degree in communication or media studies may be helpful. Personality, enthusiasm and determination are as important as qualifications. Being able to demonstrate a track record in the industry is essential.
It is a good idea to get some experience as early as possible, either through university or college radio or newspapers, or through community or hospital radio. A demo tape or showreel can help showcase your abilities.
Entry routes are varied:
Trainees in radio or TV are likely to need some qualifications as well as experience, such as:
The Diploma will give you the knowledge and skills that you will need for college, university or work in an exciting, creative and enjoyable way.
Many companies offer short courses for announcers and presenters. Some can be expensive, so check their content to make sure they are going to be useful.
Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries, offers practical advice and recommends relevant courses.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A presenter or announcer must have:
There is no formal career structure for announcers and presenters. Many presenters seek to move on to a national station or to a more high-profile, peak-time show.
PO Box 48305, London W12 6YE
Broadcast Journalism Training Council,
18 Miller's Close, Rippingale near Bourne,
Lincolnshire PE10 0TH
Tel: 01778 440025
Radio Centre, The Radiocentre,
77 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5DU
Tel: 020 7306 2603
Website : www.radiocentre.org
Equity (the British actors' union),
Guild House, Upper St Martins Lane,
London WC2H 9EG
Tel: 020 7379 6000
Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT),
Old Brewer's Yard, 17-19 Neal Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9UY
Tel: 020 7240 5703
The Radio Academy, 5 Market Place,
London W1W 8AE
Tel: 020 7255 2010
Skillset, Prospect House,
80-110 New Oxford Street,
London WC1A 1HB
Tel: 08080 300900 (in Scotland, 0808 100 8094)
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.