Radio vs. TV Announcing
different times in my broadcast career I did on-air
work in both radio and TV. I spent a number of
years working in each medium.
I'm often asked which I preferred -- radio or TV.
If you discount the relative pay
(TV paid much more) and the relative "fame" generated by each, I would have to say radio.
not sure young people aspiring to on-camera work realize how much of
their personal lives they are going to
have to give up.
Where I worked in TV I was considered part
of the station's "image." The brass
at the TV station didn't want me to reflect
negatively on that image by dashing to a
local store in a ratty t-shirt and jeans -- or, even
arriving in some beat up old jalopy. (I had an old VW beetle that I loved!)
Women who worked there felt they couldn't be seen anywhere without makeup and stylish
clothes. (At least I didn't have to put on make-up to get a loaf of bread!)
Even so, wherever I went I was being
observed. People would want to stop and talk,
just for the sake of talking to a "TV person."
I was even stopped in a foreign country
by someone who started out saying, "Aren't you...."
Often, people would confuse me with another TV person and
call me by their name. (They know they recognize you, but....)
No matter how much of a hurry I might be in, I
felt a professional obligation to maintain the image of a friendly,
charitable, representative of my TV station -- even to the people who started out calling me by
someone else's name.
was quite different in radio.
For some time I did a
morning radio show in a metropolitan area of Florida.
They call it "morning drive time." In terms of
commercial content it was the most lucrative time of
When I started work at 4 a.m., I had
the whole station to myself. Without people
around and with the total run of
the station, I could really get a lot done!
In radio it didn't matter what I wore to work, or to the local
supermarket. No one knew who I was.
And about the time I was wrapping up
my radio shift to go home each morning, others were stumbling into work
blurry-eyed, with their whole workday
ahead of them!
In radio I also had total control
over the on-air effect. In
contrast to TV, I didn't have to just hope that a couple dozen people were doing
what I was expecting -- and leave me on camera with egg on my face if they
didn't. (People tend to assume that the on-camera person was responsible for
you are on camera the workings of show to a large extent are out
of your hands. You are just one cog in the
I did finally settle into TV. But I soon gave up
on-camera work (where I mostly read copy
created by others) and moved up to
producing and directing.
This is where I felt the real
creative control was. As a producer-director I was
responsible for everything -- even the announcers.
But, as I've mentioned, people outside of television don't understand
this. When my mother found out that I was no longer in front of the camera, she
said, "If you work hard, I'm sure they'll put you back on the air."
As a producer-director the better you understand everyone's
job -- ideally from personal experience -- the more your coworkers will
respect you, and the better your production can be.
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