In the current tough economy, you may not have a lot of choices for a first job in broadcasting. Maybe you want to work in television. Should you take a job in radio? And can you even afford to? Many applicants are shocked by the small salaries being offered for entry-level jobs in both radio and television. In some markets, reporters make so little they’re actually eligible for food stamps.
Unfortunately, low pay is not a new issue. A few years ago, I compared my starting salary in TV to what college graduates were making in their first jobs 30 years later. Guess what? Today’s students are actually worse off. Joe Schlaerth, news director at WIVB-TV in Buffalo, says that’s just reality. “The pay is terrible. The hours are terrible,” he says. “If you love it, you’re going to stay in it.”
After a recent seminar at Syracuse University, CBS radio news director Tim Scheld told students it’s not that different from when he started out. He also has some advice about how to make the most of any opportunities you get.