Salary Survey

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Salary Survey

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Erin Shipps

Estimated median salaries for staff engineers
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While salaries are up this year and seminar attendance is stable, engineers may find themselves fighting to keep up with the demands of engineer and IT manager. Many also state certification is needless and they would like to learn more about these new technologies. Welcome to the 2008 Salary Survey, where engineers learn they're not alone in their struggles and aspirations.


Estimated median salary by job function
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Overall salaries are up compared to last year despite a rough economy. From Regional Directors of Engineering (up $3,333) to Station Chief Engineers (up $4,510) to Staff Engineers (up $3,000) and Operations Staff/Managers (up $1,945), most people are seeing more money this year.

Below Top 50 management salaries have risen consistently over the years, but Top 50 has seen a big leap, raking in $35,000 more this year than Below Top 50. On the engineering side, while both Top 50 and Below Top 50 are rising, the gap between the two markets has increased from $15,000 to $20,000. Contract engineers are mostly earning $50-$59/hour, but 19 percent are also split, making either less than $20 or $70 (or more, as contractors typically charge more for emergencies).

Estimated median salary for station management
*Sample size is too small to permit summary analysis.
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Around 62 percent received raises in 2008, while 38 percent did not. Of those who did, 33.3 percent received 3 percent raises; 12 percent, 2 percent; 15.7 percent, 4 percent; 12.4 percent, 5 percent; 13.3 percent, 6-10 percent; and 7.2 percent, greater than 10 percent.

More data on contract engineering at


Estimated median salaries by SBE certification
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Certification is perhaps one of the great debates among radio engineers. Our data shows that engineers with SBE Certification bring home $18,000 (Top 50) and $19,000 (Below Top 50) more in salary than non-certified engineers. Yet only one-third to half of respondants hold certification. It is understandable that times are tough and certification costs money (and time); it is also reasonable to say it won't help your career if your boss doesn't respect certification and you don't plan on moving to another job. But simply not seeing the need or saying it's not necessary for your job is ignoring the fact that certification offers more money and shows an avid interest in your career. Regardless of what your employer thinks, certification is something to better yourself � you're never too old or experienced to go through the process and maybe learn something.

Percent holding SBE certification
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Salary Survey

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Erin Shipps

Education/Non-terrestrial broadcasting

Contract engineer average hourly rates
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Half of respondants have attended seminars in the past year and the majority still prefers online courses and seminars. There is no doubt that online methods of delivery are the way of the future, and your stations are recognizing this. This year, programs are being distributed 18 percent more through Internet streaming, 28 percent more through podcasting and six percent more through other methods like cell phones. The percentage of stations using only terrestrial methods went down from 18 percent to 12.


Training preference
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On May 6, 2008, Penton Media e-mailed invitations to participate in an online survey to a total of 5,099 subscribers of Radio selected on an nth name basis from the category Radio Station/Network. To encourage prompt response and increase the response rate overall, the following marketing research techniques were used: A drawing was held for one of four $50 gift certificates. A link was included on the invitation to route respondents directly to the questionnaire. The magazine name was used on the invitation to tie the study effort to the magazine. Follow-up e-mails to non-respondents were sent on May 13 and May 20, 2008 to this same group.

Method of Program Delivery
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Write-in answers

One always interesting point in our survey is found in what you would change about your current job. Here are some of the top answers to show you you're not alone in your thoughts:

  • Don't mind hard work and lengthy to-do lists, but too many tasks are emergencies in the eyes of the requestor
  • Expression of appreciation from time to time from management for extra hours and weekends worked without additional compensation
  • Find more people truly qualified for radio
  • Hire and retain good broadcast IT staff.
  • I love my job, and the only thing that comes to mind is a fantasy � that is to reduce the time it takes for cross-country airline flights.
  • I would like to have more help, but we are a public radio station, and it's necessary for each of us to wear several hats.
  • Improve relations with management and get more assistance from station management for handling of non-engineering related problems
  • Improved Industry wide vision, leadership and direction
  • Larger department, bigger budget, up-to-date equipment
  • Less FCC involvement in broadcasting
  • Less industry concern for (and limiting its perspective to) the next quarter rather than the longer term which is what will ultimately be required for the industry to do well going forward.
  • More books on radio broadcast
  • More help
  • More interest in broadcasting from young people
  • More schooling made available
  • More time for strategic planning. This is vital.
  • Pay increases and ability to take time off with a competent backup engineer in place
  • The marginalization of engineering to the level of �necessary evil�. Stations run commercial free and jockless all the time. When was the last time a station got on the air or stayed on the air without an engineer?
  • Want to know even more?
    Purchase this entire report at

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