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Radio Station Manager - Job Profile

About the role

The station manager runs the day to day operation of the radio station, and is tasked with hitting audience, revenue and output requirements. In some groups the station manager may be in charge of more than one station and will be helped by programme directors / controllers at each station.

Station managers are in charge of the various departments, arranging the on air staff schedules, organising advertising and promotional opportunities, maintaining the industry regulations and guidelines set for the station and dealing with any complaints swiftly . The station manager ensures that employees follow the station’s mission and goals and works to increase listenership through creating an exciting on air sound and brand.

Having a grasp of financial budgets and revenue forecasting is a must for this role. Working very closely with the sales and accounts department he or she will ensure that the station is keeping to it’s planned sales forecasts and projections.

Radio stations come in all formats and a station manager needs to be able to have a clear understanding of the format and purpose of the station and the key characteristics of their target audience. Station managers need to represent the station at all levels and build strong, long lasting relationships with the local business’s in the community they serve.

Working with the station owners the station manager will help craft the goal and objectives of the station, relay those to the employees and ensure that they are being followed and implemented. Station managers provide leadership with the various departments to ensure that all content from on air, sales, promotions, the web etc.,. is consistent and complements each other.

The station manager is the person that hires and trains new employees in small stations or oversees their development if working in a large radio station. They are also in charge of setting the pay scales for the station employees. Station manager’s have overall control in the format and brand style of the station and work closely with the programme director / controller to set the stations on air sound.

Like managers in all industries the station manager needs to possess motivational skills to be able to lead their team. Excellent communication skills and business management are also required skills of a station manager.

The station manager is also tasked with troubleshooting problems as and when they arise. This may be arranging for repair work to be undertaken or signing off new pieces of equipment required by the station engineer.

In commercial radio the station manger’s main focus is on maximising revenue for the company. This is achieved through careful management of budgets and resources. Attracting new employees and keeping hold of good talent, motivating staff and ensuring their welfare is all in a days work. They can also be involved in negotiations with unions and providing communications to employees and other colleagues working within different parts of a group.

Travel can be involved for those station managers in a large group that have to attend business meetings on a group wide level.

Career Paths

Station managers working in commercial radio will usually have obtained their position via 2 main routes. Some have had a grounding in sales and have worked in the sales department for a number of years, often with different stations and groups. The 2nd route is via the programme department where they will have had a thorough knowledge of the commercial side of the station.

Station managers can move about from station to station and can progress from local to regional to national station managers.

Essential knowledge and skills

Common work activities include:
Having an ability to see the overall BIG picture
Keep updated with trends in the radio industry as well as technological developments
Excellent communication and presentation skills
Knowledge of the Radio market, different station and programme styles, and audience demographics
Sound editorial, business and finance skills
Ability to generate original ideas, and to think creatively about how to communicate them
Ability to motivate, coach, lead and train others in the team
Motivating and managing sales staff to meet all sales quotas or budget requirements for income
Set the bar for budgets and performance expectations, plus the penalties for not achieving them
Monitoring and evaluating the quality of the station and meeting all requirements and regulations with regards to programming and legislation
Handling all complaints, questions, or request for information about the station
Hiring and training of new employees, freelancers, and other personnel at the radio station
Networking with other businesses, organizations and agencies to increase the market for advertising
Developing budget plans, employee schedules and overseeing the daily operation of the station

Training & qualifications

Most station managers obtain some of their management skills whilst working on the job in previous roles. They may have been leading a sales team, standing in for more senior colleagues or been undertaking multiple roles in smaller stations.

Other managers may have developed themselves for the role by attending training courses in business management to help in their promotion prospects. Qualifications are not an essential for the role and many managers have got to where they are through hard work and working through the ranks learning each aspect of how the station operates.

Training for station managers is an ongoing process to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. This can take the form of in house training courses or via the more formal qualification route. Training is usually dependent on the organisation, its size and budget available.

What can I expect to earn?

Salaries vary depending on the size of the station involved and if the station manager is in charge of 1 station or a number of stations. Salaries can typically range anywhere from £30,000 to £150,000 or more.


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