Radio broadcast assistants provide vital support in the development and day-to-day production of local and national radio. They give practical assistance to programme producers and presenters to ensure that shows run as smoothly as possible.
Radio broadcast assistants undertake key administrative activities as well as assisting in planning, researching and producing live and pre-recorded radio programmes. They often have creative input into the development of new shows or features. The broad scope of the role, encompassing production and technical skills, means that it is a common starting point for a career in radio.
There are lots of similarities with the role of production assistant and your job title may depend on whether you’re working for the BBC or commercial sector, national or local radio.
The job can vary widely between radio stations and even between different programmes within a single station. In particular, day-to-day activities will vary between speech and music radio stations. The breadth of duties undertaken may also differ depending upon the size of the station and production team. Most broadcast assistants will be expected to provide some degree of administrative, technical and production support, but some posts may be more closely related to assistant producer or producer roles.
Typical work activities are likely to include:
- undertaking general research for programmes
- general administrative duties
- arranging and overseeing guest visits and freelance staff
- maintaining up-to-date contact lists
- producing transcripts, programme logs and running orders
- recording programme costs
- preparing contracts and payments for guests and contributors
- answering and archiving details of calls for phone ins and competitions
- archiving past programmes
- booking resources, facilities, studio time and equipment
- editing audio packages with digital editing software
- assisting with time-keeping
- assisting the production team
- assisting with the recording of transmissions
- 'driving the desk' for some pre-recorded or live programmes
- contributing to the creative input of a show, for example writing cues and updating scripts
- liaising with publicity departments about programme trailers and competition prizes
- updating the programme/station website and ensuring that the on-air and online content are the same
- creating online web and video content
You will normally have the opportunity to undertake other ad hoc duties and contribute your ideas. If you work for a smaller station, you may have more creative input and your role could include more high-profile activities, such as:
- researching and interviewing guests
- researching news stories
- pitching new ideas
- creating and producing items of a programme
- choosing music
- presenting shows or small sections of a programme, such as news items and reviews of music, films or books
With thanks to Prospects.