Also known as: Broadcast Assistant, Production Management Assistant, Team Assistant
Career Level: Entry-level
What Do They Do?
Assistant Producers support producers, presenters and programmes within a radio station or production company. They are some of the hardest working members of the team, with a varied workload.
An assistant producer's daily tasks may include:
- Generating ideas and researching content (including working with the Sponsorship and Promotions team in commercial radio)
- Booking guests and contributors
- Writing interview questions and scripts
- Recording and editing packages and other pre-records such as callers
- Managing the running order for the show – including uploading and complying new songs
- Live studio production, including driving the desk
- Managing the show’s social media presence, or working with the relevant social team
- Dealing with listeners interaction during the show
- Handling guests during the show
- Managing supporting content for the show such as taking photos of guests or videoing interviews
- Talent Management
- Completing music reporting information
- Updating the website and programme information
- Making the tea! Or doing a breakfast / lunch run.
Who Do They Work With?
- The most important relationship an Assistant Producer will have is with the Producer. They need to work closely together as a team to make the best programme.
- They also work closely with the Presenter, in support of the Producer.
- Assistant Producers are some of the best-connected team members as they will interact with people from multiple teams within their day.They will liaise with Digital/Interactive, Music Teams, Hospitality, Engineering, Live Events etc.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Assistant Producers are team players who need to be reliable, positive , trustworthy and have excellent editorial judgement.
- Assistant Producers are creative and must be able to continuously source or generate ideas for their show.
- Assistant Producers must stay calm under pressure – particularly in a live broadcast environment when unexpected things can happen.
- Assistant Producers need strong interpersonal skills, as they create the atmosphere in a studio and need to motivate the people they work with to do their best.
- Producers need to be confident communicators with strong writing skills, as they relay any station messages, and make them relevant to the presenter and audience.
- Assistant Producers need excellent time management and planning skills to help the Producer make sure that the programme makes it to air at the right time, with all the correct components, but also that trails and adverts are played in full (particularly important in commercial radio), and that the news is played at the right time. This sometimes involves “back-timing” where you calculate exactly when to start a song in order for that song to end at exactly the right moment, so mathematical ability is also important (but there are apps that can help here).
- Assistant Producers need to be technically confident in a studio, and ready to learn about emerging technologies or new equipment.
- Assistant Producers need to be flexible
- Assistant Producers tend to have curious minds, a fascination with people and a love of story-telling.
How Do I Get This Job?
Being an Assistant Producer is a vocation, so although there are courses that will teach you the technical skills, you will need to prove yourself by gaining enough experience in a live studio environment.
Many Assistant Producers will have started in community, hospital or student radio, some will have their own podcasts, and most will have done internships, before taking ad-hoc shifts to prove their skills and that they fit in with the station’s culture.