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Work in radio THIS WEEK! 6 simple steps

Updated on January 10, 2009

Ever want to work at a radio station?

Every day, radio stations in the USA and around the world are tolerating people on their staffs who just aren't that friendly. Frankly, the managers of that station would LOVE to replace that dull or shy person with YOU.

However, the station doesn't know you exist (yet), so let's fix that right now.

Working around DJs is fun, and better than most jobs.

Let them see a friendly face

I want you to VOLUNTEER in the PROMOTION department. That's right, I said volunteer. If you're a friendly person, they'll want you there.

Don't worry about getting paid. We've gotta get them to know you and like you, first. The pay thing will follow, don't worry.

It's a fun place to work if you're in the promotions department at a radio station (or group of stations owned by the same company). That's where people handle the station contests, giveaways, prizes, sometimes even their playlists, and they frequently travel around town with the DJs to assist them with on-location appearances, live broadcasts or concerts.

Every day is different at a radio station's promotions department, and there are lots of people to deal with, all the time. It sure beats waiting on tables, working at a department store or delivering mail. If you like dealing with the public, this will really be a great opportunity to do something pretty cool...and valuable.

I'll explain how to get into the radio station, in front of the right people, and onto the promotion staff working for MULTIPLE stations, at the same time.

This can happen to you this week. Maybe even tomorrow.

Honest. I'm serious. If you're a friendly and outgoing person, this will be a breeze for you. Not crazy friendly, just a nice person. Believe it or not, it's kinda hard for stations to find genuinely normal people.

Radio station work is WAY more fun than a bank or grocery store.

Six steps to success

Just follow these six steps and, amazingly, you'll find yourself in front of an important person at the station of your choice, this week. Maybe even tomorrow.

I've personally worked at or have been directly involved with nearly 100 radio stations in my long radio career, and have seen first hand the types of people stations would LOVE to have on their staff.

So how do you get in there? Just follow these steps:


1. Pick a station you like, one you can easily drive to. The closer the station is, the better equipped you are to help out at a moment's notice.

By the way, most stations are owned by a company that controls two or more stations. The company might operate three music stations, a "telephone talk show" station, and maybe a sports station, often all in the same building, right down the same hall from each other. So you'll need to know the name of the group owner, too. That's probably listed in the phone book with the station's name.

The important thing to know is that usually, the promotion department works for ALL the stations in the building, so there's almost always a lot to do for one station or the other.

2. Call the front desk and get the Promotion Director's name. Be nice. Tell the receptionist you're doing a study and need to know the name of their Promotion Director. That's true, you are doing a study. Make sure you get the proper spelling of that person's name. If the name is gender neutral (like Chris or Jean/Gene), make sure to ask if they are a woman or man. Thank them and hang up. The whole call should be less than 20 seconds.

3. Go eat lunch. Do something else. Wait an hour or two. You may want to repeat Step 1 at some other radio station groups. Get the names of their promotion directors, then wait at least two hours.

Promotion departments get fun assignments

Radio stations often broadcast from unusual locations
Radio stations often broadcast from unusual locations


4. Call the station later and ask for the Promotion Director by their first name, as if you know them. The receptionist will have spoken to a few dozen people since you last called, so they won't remember you. Often, they will just put you through because you sound like you know that person.

Note: calls to the Promotion Director aren't carefully screened because they aren't getting a zillion calls like DJs or managers. That's why it's much easier to get through to them. Besides, it's the perfect department at a station for a friendly person to work, so you're about to meet just the right person.

5. When they pick up, tell them the truth. In your own words, try to make the conversation go something like this:

"Hi (repeat their first name back to them, they most likely said it when they answered the phone),  my name is (your 1st & last name) and I'd like to volunteer for your promotions department."

(let them reply, then continue)

"You see, I like your station and I'd love to help you guys out with any work or projects you need somebody to handle."

(let them reply, and continue)

"My schedule has recently changed and I've got some free time every weekend. Like maybe every Friday night, or during the day Saturday or Sunday I'd love to spend a few hours each week learning about the radio business and giving you a hand, too."

(let them reply, and add)

"In fact, I don't live too far away, so it's easy for me to come over and help you guys with whatever any of your stations are doing that weekend."

Every playlist has more variety.   PlayDJ separates similar sounding songs.
Every playlist has more variety. PlayDJ separates similar sounding songs.


6. Offer to drop off your resume today or tomorrow, regardless of their answer.

Say something like this:

"If you don't mind, can I stop by and just hand you my resume? That way you can meet me in the lobby for a few seconds and see that I'm just a regular person who'd really love to do some work wherever you need me."

If you sound like a normal, friendly person, this will work. Stations get many ego-maniacs and overenthusiastic people who only want to be DJs, and you won't sound like that at all. What all station groups need are average, nice-to-be-around, helpful people for a variety of roles at the station. That's you.


7. Repeat steps 1-6 at every station group within driving distance of your home. I'll guarantee that at least one (and maybe more) station groups will be interested in your offer.

Tip: almost nobody comes to a station and offers to volunteer. This offer will sound too good to be true to many promotion directors. They often have difficulties finding the right kind of person for their department, and that's where you will fit the bill because you just want to help. You're not an egomaniac, and you have no hidden agenda. You just want to work at a radio station, and if this goes as I expect it will, they will want you to help.

8. After two or three months, someone at the station will get hit by a bus. In other words, someone will get promoted, someone else wil get fired, another person will get hired by another station, while another will go on maternity leave.

The station will NOT select you to take their place.

Instead, the station will most likely promote someone from their PAID staff to move into that position. That creates a job opening in the lower position they will need to fill.

THAT is when the station will consider you, without even talking to you about the opening. Why is this likely to happen? Because you're already a known, reliable member of their staff, you will be considered to move into that paid position at the station.

This happens far more often that you might think. It is a very common occurrence in the radio biz.

Regardless, after a few months, you can add this station group to your resume because you've worked there, whether you're getting paid or still a volunteer. At that point, you will have radio "experience" and you may want to interview for a paid position at another nearby station, but your current station will probably want to keep you. That's a good problem to have, right?

Be truthful and friendly, and it will get you far

Remember, as long as you appear to be a reasonably normal, friendly and genuinely nice person, this technique has a high success rate. The radio station group will benefit because they've been looking for someone like you, and you will benefit because you'll be working at a radio station.

THIS ALMOST ALWAYS WORKS. I've seen it happen too many times to count. Give it a try to it will probably work for you, too.

SUMMARY: Get inside the station as a volunteer. Show everyone you are reliable, friendly, and genuinely willing to help. Make as many people like you as you can. Wait for someone to exit the station and for that person to be replaced. If they pick someone already on the paid staff to move up, that's where you are highly likely to be considered for the job vacancy that's created. If you get asked, say yes! If you don't get asked, don't worry, this cycle will happen again in the near future. It always does.

Keep smiling, and let me know how this goes. I bet it will go well.

Tom Zarecki (


Content of text and photos 
copyright (C) 2008 Thomas R. Zarecki. 
All Rights Reserved. 
All music referenced is the property 
of each respective owner. 


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