Thursday, November 29, 2012

RTNDA/Hofstra Broadcast News Salaries Report

(Erased by error - second attempt)

The latest of the RTNDA/Hofstra annual looks at the economics and operations of broadcast news stations has been coming out in parts - the latest of which is their look at salaries.  There's a lot of details and breakdowns in the study - job type, by market size, by the size of the station's news staff, etc. - so I'll recommend taking a look at the full report. 
  But here's some highlights - median salaries are up - slightly.  The growth in median salaries in the last year failed to keep up with inflation (2.9%) - TV news salaries were up 2%, radio news salaries grew 1.2%.  That result really isn't a surprise - median salary growth over the last 5 and 10 years both fell below inflation levels for the period.  In fact, only the News Director's median salaries grew faster than inflation in both periods (there was a bigger spurt in News Writer salaries over the last five years, bringing them more in line with reporter and producer salaries).
  Top staff and talent in TV's 50 largest markets can do well, pulling median salaries in excess of $100,000.  In smaller markets, News Directors had the highest median salaries in smaller markets, running from $100K in markets 51-100, to $56,500 in markets ranked 150+.  Line reporters and producers/writers earned considerably less, particularly outside of the top 50 markets (in the $25K-$35K range for median salaries). Those numbers rose to the $35-45K range in markets 26-50, and $40-70K range in top 25 markets.  As has happened in the last few reports, median salaries for Web/Mobile writers and producers tended to run 10-15% higher than their TV counterparts.
  As expected, radio news salaries are lower. In larger markets (population 250K+), median salary for radio News Directors are in the $45-47K range, falling to $37K in medium markets, and $27K in small markets (population under 50,000).  The median salaries for radio news and sports anchors tend to be in the same range as those of the News Director, with reporters and producers about 10% less in medium and small markets.  While the growth in median salaries from last year (2011) was minimal (1.2%), the median salaries in radio news for anchors, reporters and producers have risen in the last decade, with the resurgence of news/talk and sports/talk formats (30-40% over the last 5 years, 30-56% over the last 10).

Now for the scary numbers - the median starting salaries for people with no previous fulltime experience in broadcast news.  Median starting salaries for newbies in TV news are run in the low $20Ks.  Top median starting salaries (with no experience) are for those with some specialized skills (multimedia, studio technical, assignment editors); with median salaries in the $25K to $27K range).  If there's a good side, its that the lowest reporting starting salary for TV news hires with no experience was $15,000.
  Interestingly, median starting salaries for radio news hires are a little higher than those in TV, but share minimums in the $15,000 range.

Source -  2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey, Part VI: TV and Radio News Salaries Barely Edge Up,  RTNDA research report

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