How To Begin Your Career In The Broadcasting Industry

If you really want to start your career in the broadcasting industry then don’t think you’ll walk straight into a job working straight in front of the camera and have your own TV show, or even producing top prime time shows. 

To start with you will most likely get a job as a runner or a production trainee / assistant, you could even get lucky and get to work on sought after TV shows. Be aware that if you want to work on news or current affairs programmes then you will more than likely be better off training as a journalist and go down that route. 

What Does A Runner Do? 

A runner generally helps with the logistics of production, for example booking in guests and studio time, finding props, making teas and coffees, photocopying, buying lunches, general tidying up as well as helping out with the admin too. A broadcast production trainee or production assistant will also have more than plenty of admin work but may also get involved with the actual technicalities of production such as sound too. They may also help to keep track of timings, continuity and shots recorded when filming is taking place.

What qualifications Would You Need To Become a Runner of Broadcast Production Trainee? 

With the right connections and experience, it is more than possible to get a job as a runner with any degree subject or even with no degree at all. 

Some of the largest TV and radio broadcasters run broadcast apprenticeship and trainee schemes for school leavers, as do some of the TV/film studios that also serve in the industry.  

Some broadcasters will happily take you on as a runner with a degree is any subject, particularly the smaller production companies around but they will want to see: 

A - a lot of evidence of interest in broadcasting, crucially including work experience

B - Any evidence of excellent organisational skills in other key areas, particularly if they are creative, eg running student music festivals or theatre events. 

You will need to learn how to network, having good contacts is extremely helpful in getting work. Create a good impression on everyone you meet, and continue to touch base with them. Don’t be shy about asking for advice on how to progress in your career. 

Let’s say your applying for a graduate role which includes some technical work, it can help to then have studied a media production course. 

Will My First Job Be Permanent or Temporary? 

Runners generally tend to work on short-term contracts, so you will have to be prepared to move from job to job rather than having permanent employment. Keep in mind that these jobs are typically based in the big cities and yes, salaries will start pretty low. Unless your parents live in the relevant city and are happy for you to stay at home, you will find that money is pretty tight.

Alex Bonnet