2010 Salary Survey

October 1, 2010

The comes at the first rumblings of what is hopefully a wave of rebirth for the radio industry, as well as the nation''s economy. Many industries are starting to turn around and seeing 2011 with a glimmer of hope that it will be better than the past few years. With stalled salaries, layoffs and non-existent budgets, it couldn't get much worse.

The same old story continues this year with engineers concurring that help is the number one priority. Engineering staffs are still very slim. In addition, salaries are still stagnant for the most part and an engineer''s time is precious. If only you could add more time to the day and more days to the week, right? Many engineers also see a need for better communication from above and more training.

Estimated Median Salary by Job Function

Estimated Median Salary by Job Function (Click to enlarge)

Let's get right into it. Our typical respondent has worked in the broadcast engineering field for 24 years. Corporate engineering titles hold the top at 31 years, followed by station chief engineers at 28. These jobs on average have been held for 11 years. Corporate officer/corporate management/sole proprietors have had their jobs for an average of 14 years. Our average respondent age is 50 and most hold technical job titles with station or market chief engineer at the top with 57 percent.

Estimated Median Salary for Staff Engineers

Estimated Median Salary for Staff Engineers (Click to enlarge)

Our typical respondent earns an estimated median income of $55,000, compared to $52,500 last year. While only 36 percent received salary increases during the past 12 months, that number is up from 27 percent last year. The average increase was 8 percent. Corporate engineering titles are still at the top of the chart, but station chief engineers are not far behind. The estimated median salary for staff engineers has remained stable in both large and small markets, despite small fluctuations over the years.

Training Preference

Training Preference (Click to enlarge)

Half of all respondents (52 percent) have attended an educational seminar within the past two years. And why not? There are many great learning opportunities including online seminars, local conventions, Radio magazine, books, SBE meetings, classroom courses and the national NAB convention. With nearly 70 percent of engineers preferring to attend online courses, be on the lookout for more opportunities to learn online. It''s convenient, quick and sometimes free (but even if it''s not, the cost is worth being able to learn from wherever you are). Also, local and regional events are happening often so be sure to check with local SBE chapters. If there isn''t one close, maybe it''s time to start one! And as always, Radio magazine is at the forefront of radio technology information.

Methods of Program Delivery

Methods of Program Delivery (Click to enlarge)

According to write-in answers, engineers are most interested in IT topics, followed by new technology, audio over IP, management, digital and streaming. This seems on par with what is going on in the radio industry.

This year, 3 percent more stations are streaming online. Podcasting is up 5 percent and more importantly, as we see the rise in cell phone technology, other live delivery (cell phones, etc.) are up 4 percent. These numbers should see a steady increase in the future and should be top priority on stations'' to-do list.

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Level of SBE Certification

Level of SBE Certification (Click to enlarge)

I''m not sure what else can be said about the importance of certification for engineers. I understand sometimes it is not necessary or required for a job, or that management might not support certification. Some engineers even believe they know everything already, but what about getting certified for personal satisfaction? I was pleased to see the number of certified engineers in our survey rise this year. Compared to 33 percent last year, more than half of corporate engineering titles are certified. Station chief engineer certification also rose from 41 percent to 50 percent. As I say every year, it pays off: SBE certified engineers received between $6,800 and $7,500 more money this year. Work this in to your schedule.

Percent Holding SBE Certification

Percent Holding SBE Certification (Click to enlarge)

Estimated Median Salaries by SBE Certification

Estimated Median Salaries by SBE Certification (Click to enlarge)

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