Broadcasting

Significant Points

* Keen competition is expected for many jobs, particularly in large metropolitan areas, because of the large number of jobseekers attracted by the glamour of this industry.
* Job prospects will be best for applicants with a college degree in broadcasting, journalism, or a related field, and relevant experience, such as work at college radio and television stations or internships at professional stations.
* In this highly competitive industry, broadcasters are less willing to provide on-the-job training and instead seek candidates who can perform the job immediately.
* Many entry-level positions are at smaller broadcast stations; consequently, workers often must change employers, and sometimes relocate, in order to advance.

Nature of the Industry

Goods and services

The broadcasting industry consists of radio and television stations and networks that create content or acquire the right to broadcast prerecorded television and radio programs. Networks transmit their signals from broadcasting studios via satellite signals to local stations or cable distributors. Broadcast signals then travel over cable television lines, satellite distribution systems, or the airwaves from a station’s transmission tower to the antennas of televisions and radios.

Anyone in the signal area with a radio or television can receive the programming. Cable and other pay television distributors provide television broadcasts to most Americans. Although cable television stations and networks are included in this statement, cable and other pay television distributors are classified in the telecommunications industry.

Industry organization

Radio and television stations and networks broadcast a variety of programs, such as national and local news, talk shows, music programs, movies, other entertainment, and advertisements. Stations produce some of these programs, most notably news programs, in their own studios; however, much of the programming is produced outside the broadcasting industry. Revenue for commercial radio and television stations and networks comes from the sale of advertising time.

The rates paid by advertisers depend on the size and characteristics (age, gender, and median income, among others) of a program’s audience. Educational and noncommercial stations generate revenue primarily from donations by individuals, foundations, government, and corporations. These stations generally are owned and managed by public broadcasting organizations, religious institutions, or school systems.

Establishments that produce filmed or taped programming for radio and television stations and networks—but that do not broadcast the programming—are in the motion picture industry. Many television networks own production companies that produce their many shows.

Within the broadcasting industry, 73 percent of workers were employed in television and radio broadcasting, with the remaining 27 percent in cable broadcasting. Cable and other program distributors compensate local television stations and cable networks for rebroadcast rights. For popular cable networks and local television stations, distributors pay a fee per subscriber and/or agree to broadcast a less popular channel owned by the same network.

Recent developments

Digital television (DTV), a technology that uses digital signals to transmit television programs. Digital signals consist of pieces of simple electronic code that can carry more information than conventional analog signals. This code allows for the transmission of better quality sound and higher resolution pictures, often referred to as high-definition television (HDTV). Beginning in 2009, FCC regulations required all stations to turn off their analog signals and broadcast only in digital.

The transition to HDTV broadcasting has accelerated the conversion of other aspects of television production from analog to digital. Many stations have replaced specialized hardware with less specialized computers equipped with software that performs the same functions. Stations are beginning to switch away from tapes and instead use digital recording devices. This way footage can be more easily transferred to a computer for editing and storage. Many major network shows now use HDTV cameras and editing equipment as well.

The transition to digital broadcasting also is occurring in radio. Most stations already store music, edit clips, and broadcast their analog signals with digital equipment. Satellite radio services, which offer more than 100 channels of digital sound, operate on a subscription basis, like pay television services. To compete, some radio stations are embedding a digital signal into their analog signals. With a specially equipped radio, these digital services offer better quality sound and display some limited text, such as the title of the song and the artist.

Source: bls.gov, broadcastingschools.com, feltech.co.uk, globecommsystems.com, butlertech.org,

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