Are you getting enough?
As the face of radio broadcasting evolves, industry professionals
are faced with many decisions, including determining a fair salary. The
annual BE Radio Salary Survey can help make this decision an
In this rapidly changing environment, many in the radio industry are
concerned about such issues as the transition to digital,
consolidation, and the increasing use of the Internet and computers.
Another area of concern, especially in light of the current economy, is
salary. With all the changes, and the consequent new demands and
responsibilities, how are salaries changing, and how is that reflected
among readers of BE Radio magazine?
In an effort to answer this question, BE Radio provides its
readers with the annual Salary Survey. Each year, research is conducted
exclusively for BE Radio to determine the latest salary trends.
Primedia Business Corporate Research performs the data collection and
analysis. This year's data was gathered from June through July. The
main objectives of the survey were to determine salary levels among
BE Radio readers for select title groups, to examine salary
trends over time and to consider broadcast salaries in terms of
Greasing the pig
This year's survey, conducted through letters sent via e-mail to
4,000 BE Radio subscribers selected on an nth name basis
among radio station and network subscribers, resulted in 446 usable
surveys, translating into an effective response rate of 11.2
Figure 1. Estimated median salaries for station
The results of this study are presented by job title group and
market rank (top 50 and below top 50). Response subcategories are
delineated as follows: 130 station managers (39 top 50, 91 below top
50); 214 staff engineers (117 top 50, 97 below top 50); and 35 contract
engineers (14 top 50, 21 below top 50).
Eighty percent of station management and 57 percent of staff
engineers work for a radio station or multiple stations. However, most
of the contract engineers (65 percent) work independently or for
contract engineering firms.
The information gathered in the survey is intended to illustrate
broad trends in the radio industry and is not meant to be used as the
sole source for determining salaries. Treat the data as a starting
point for salary ranges. Factors like cost of living and the demand for
a particular job are also important in determining salary range.
Money in the bank
The median salaries among responding station managers have increased
in 2001 in large and small markets. The estimated median salary for
station management is $57, 498 for the top 50 market, compared with
$51,000 for this market in 2000, an increase of 13 percent. The below
top 50 market also saw an increase, though a modest one. This group's
median salary rose 3 percent, from $43,749 in 2000 to $44,998 in 2001.
(See Figure 1.)
Figure 2. Estimated median salaries for staff
The reported salaries of staff engineers tell a different story. In
2001, as in 2000, staff engineers in the top 50 market have seen a
decrease in pay. The salaries for this market have fallen to $54,999 in
2001. This is a five percent decrease from $57,894 in 2000. In the
below top 50 market, however, staff engineers have fared better. After
a 7.7 percent decrease in 2000, salaries have jumped 11.8 percent to
$43,844, surpassing a previous high of $42,500 (1999). This increase
marks a dramatic change for below top 50 staff engineers, who haven't
seen a pay increase greater than 3.9 percent since 1997. (See Figure
Due to a small number of respondents in the contract engineer
category, we have combined responses in the top 50 market and the below
top 50 market to come up with an average salary among all contract
engineers. The median salary among all responding contract engineers
for 2001 is $49,999, an 11% increase over the $44,999 median for 2000.
Due to the small sample pool, however, this increase is not likely to
be reflective of the industry as a whole. The survey revealed that
⅓ of responding contract engineers receive 75% or more of their
income from radio broadcast work. To further gauge salaries of contract
engineers, BE Radio asked contract engineers to provide an
average hourly rate. Again taking all responding contract engineers
together, an average hourly rate of $44 per hour was reported. (See
Figures 3 and 4.)
Figure 3. Estimated median salaries for contract
Upping the ante
We now ask: Does it pay to hold SBE (or any other) certification?
According to our respondents, the answer is yes. Though salaries for
non-SBE certified engineers have increased, while salaries for
SBE-certified engineers have decreased slightly, engineers with SBE
certification still bring in a higher salary than those without. Figure
5 illustrates this finding. Respondents with SBE certification have
reported greater salaries than those without since 1998.
While SBE certification has increased overall in 2001, the number of
responding engineers who are SBE certified has decreased. Of our survey
participants, 32 percent of all engineers are SBE certified, a 13
percent decrease from 2000. However, SBE certification for contract
engineers has increased from 38 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2001.
Responding staff engineers that are SBE certified has decreased from 36
percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2001.
Figure 4. Contract engineer's average hourly
In this year's survey, we also looked at three other types of
certification: NARTE, Microsoft and Novell. Station management
certification is as follows: .8 percent possess NARTE certification;
4.6 percent are Microsoft certified and 1.5 percent have Novell
certification. Staff engineers report a 2.8 percent certification rate
for both NARTE and Microsoft certification; and 4.2 percent are Novell
certified. Contract engineers report the following: 2.9 percent have
NARTE certification; 11.4 percent are Microsoft certified and 2.9
percent are Novell certified.
Lining your pockets
Many participants reported an increase in salary in the last 12
months. For both station management and staff engineers, the median
salary increase in 2001 was 4 percent. Though a median salary was
unavailable for contract engineers, those responding did report a
Figure 5. Esitmated median salaries by SBE
More respondents in the top 50 markets received a salary increase
within the last year than did those in smaller markets. Seventy-seven
percent of station management in the top 50 market reported a salary
increase, while 65 percent of those in the below top 50 market reported
an increase. Staff engineers in both markets were nearly even (76
percent in the top 50 market and 75 percent in the below top 50
market). A lower percentage of contract engineers reported an increase.
This may be due to the small number of respondents. Forty-three percent
of contract engineers in the top 50 market reported an increase in
salary, and 24 percent of those in the below top 50 market received a
raise. (See Figure 6.)
Figure 6. Respondants receiving salary
More info online
Survey respondants were also asked for feedback as to the the
changes that have most affected their careers, their thoughts on the
suitability of IBOC for use in the U.S., and if IT functions are
considered part of the duties of engineering. Read some of the
responses by following