I was 15 years out of radio when I got that call that I was hired at a MAJOR radio station in Los Angeles. I was so beside myself I never asked how much the job paid. (Truth is I didn’t care, because I already had a full time job and this was my way back in to the business I love, working part time.) It was only $12/hr. I was fine with that amount, to relearn, what was lost.
Then when I moved across the country for a new job, it paid pretty well, but it didn’t last. About a year after that I got another radio job, in the same small (read: micro) market for… wait for it… $12/hr. Going to a job that you love means, it’s okay to suffer… for a minute. But after having several years, is it still okay to starve?
Thanks to my slick website, I get many queries a week. Many want barter, some want cash, and more than anything, no one has money for anything (or so they say). I had a query recently from a smaller station (I won’t reveal the market here) for which I quoted my regular rate for 3 one minute local newscasts. The emailer responded that they couldn’t afford it. So I remembered why I started this business. I thought, I’ll just do it myself for now, I won’t have to pay someone and I can produce it pretty quick (being honest: breaking it down would be $20/day, PEANUTS). They were so excited to get news on their station. And I was truly excited to help. But then, they got too excited. “Can we have an afternoon anchor too?” “Can you call fire, police, city council and county commission”? My response, sure, absolutely, but that’s all going to be extra. I never heard from that station again. That is fine, I’m not offended. But here’s the rub: how do managers not see, that we work, we don’t just “read” (I dislike being called a “News Reader”). We gather, write, record, produce, upload, etc. There is much that goes into this thing and I’m not prepared to offer a news anchor $200/month to work M-F. They would laugh. I would be embarrassed and I would also probably go out of business.
Don’t these managers and owners realize we have to feed our kids?
When I started Remote News Service, I was asked to quote a major group of radio stations. I was so excited, my husband and I parked it at Starbucks and hammered out the deal, how much it would realistically cost us to hire enough anchors to service 200+ stations across the country. What I asked for was not unheard of. I was not trying to be outrageous, but they were. The offer: $200/month FOR ALL 200+ stations. The good news is I had a rude awakening to what I was up against.
It’s been 9 years and I’m still plugging away. We 10 anchors can work inexpensively and at an extremely fast pace in any market. We deliver excellent quality newscasts exactly how and when stations need them. But please, can you pay me enough to feed my kids.
Oh, and when I say I need to be paid for what I do, can you at least respond “no thank you”? Thank you. Rant over.