Also known as: Production Management Assistant, Team Assistant, Tech Op
Career Level: Entry-level
What Do They Do?
Broadcast Assistants support assistant producers, 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.
Not all programmes have a Broadcast Assistant, but in those that do it is a role distinct from that of an Assistant Producer in that the Broadcast Assistant is likely to be less responsible for editorial content and more involved with the admin side of the production. From time to time a Broadcast Assistant may be called upon to “output” or “tech op” a show which means to ensure a pre-recorded programme is played out at the correct time with all the correct elements such as news, trails and adverts.
Broadcast Assistants may work across several programmes and will be expected to manage their workload effectively.
A Broadcast Assistant's daily tasks may include:
- Generating ideas and researching content
- Managing the running order for the show – including uploading and complying new songs
- Printing scripts
- Writing programme descriptions
- Managing the show’s social media presence
- 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
- Editing clips for use online
- Handling archive requests
- Booking facilities like studios or services like taxis
- Keeping on top of administrative duties like doing music reporting
- Making the tea! Or doing a breakfast / lunch run.
Who Do They Work With?
- The most important relationship an Broadcast Assistant will have is with the Producer or Assistant Producer. They need to work closely together as a team to make the best programme.
- They may also work closely with a Presenter, in support of the rest of the team.
- Broadcast Assistants 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?
- Broadcast Assistants are team players who need to be reliable, trustworthy and have excellent editorial judgement.
- Broadcast Assistants are creative and must be able to continuously source or generate ideas for their show.
- Broadcast Assistants must stay calm under pressure – particularly in a live broadcast environment when unexpected things can happen.
- Broadcast Assistants 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.
- Broadcast Assistants 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).
- Broadcast Assistants need to be technically confident in a studio, and ready to learn about emerging technologies or new equipment.
- Broadcast Assistants need to be flexible
- Broadcast Assistants tend to have curious minds, a fascination with people and a love of story-telling.
How Do I Get This Job?
Being a Broadcast Assistant 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 Broadcast Assistants 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.