Your guide to jobs in UK radio and audio



Also Known As: Airtime Planner
Career Level: Entry Level


What Do They Do?

Airtime Planning is an integral part of a sales side of commercial radio.  Planners will work with Account Managers to suggest a broadcast plan for a specific client, based on a range of criteria and will then assist in the process of getting that client to air.

Every station has a certain amount of minutes available (sometimes called Inventory), so it’s important that there aren’t certain days where it’s wall-to-wall adverts, and others which are bare.  Different slots will have different price points - Breakfast and Drivetime shows often come with the highest price points in terms of selling airtime slots – but different shows will also reach different audiences, so it’s a balancing act which the Planner manages on behalf of the team.

This is a junior role and not to be confused with other types of content planning, such as Commissioning, Marketing or Events, where station-wide decisions are made about network strategies and broadcast priorities.

A Planner’s daily tasks may include:

  • Working with Media Agencies, Clients or Account Managers on interpreting airtime briefs – working out which audiences they want to reach etc
  • Sourcing the latest research from the Insight Team to make sure that the airtime solution offered fits the client as well as possible.
  • Planning airtime campaigns to the set parameters and looking into availability on the relevant station/s.If a client wishes to book a heavy campaign, it’s always handy to find out if a station has the availability to run it!
  • Once the client is happy, booking the campaign which may involve getting contracts signed, liaising with the Finance team and setting in motion the creation of an advert.
  • Liaising with the Ads team who make sure the PRS, RACC and copy instructions are all in order, ready for the advert to be aired.
  • When the campaign is live the Planner will keep across it, clipping some adverts in situ so the client to hear how the ad sounds on air

Who Do They Work With?

  • Planning is a role that is great for collaborative working as there are a number of teams to work with, such as the Inventory Team (also known as Commercial Scheduling or Traffic). They will advise if advertising spots need moving around if a station is particularly busy on a given day.
  • They also work closely with the Ads Team, who will advise if they are missing audio for a campaign that is due to start, and will make sure the PRS, RACC and copy instructions are all correct in order for the advert to be aired.

What Skills Do I Need?

  • Planners need excellent attention to detail to make sure the correct information is provided to the client
  • Planners need strong interpersonal skills, as they will deal with lots of agencies and clients and their personality could have a huge effect on whether a client books something.
  • Planners need excellent time management and planning skills to ensure they suggest the best solution for each client.
  • Planners need to be confident communicators with strong writing skills, as their work will be shared with clients on a regular basis.
  • Planners need to be mathematically confident as there are lots of numbers involved with this job.

How Do I Get This Job?

There are no specific qualifications needed for this role, but an interest in radio and the wider media industry is crucial to understanding the bigger picture and how campaigns are received on air.  Full training is given for this role.