Broadcast assistants support producers and presenters in making radio programmes.
As a broadcast assistant, or BA, it would be your job to handle the administration, help to plan programmes and provide technical support in the studio.
Becoming a BA is a common starting point for a career in radio.
The work can vary widely from one station to the next and even from one programme to the next. The main differences are between speech and music radio, and between live and pre-recorded radio. However, your administrative duties would generally include typing scripts, keeping track of costs, researching programmes, booking guests, producing programme logs and running orders, archiving programme material, arranging and sending out competition prizes, booking studio time and equipment, updating the programme or station website.
Studio production work can include, managing phone lines for phone-ins and competitions, timing shows, operating recording, editing and mixing equipment on pre-recorded or live programmes (often known as ‘driving the desk’), recording and editing programme trailers, offering creative input, such as writing links or devising quiz questions.
With experience, you may also take on some of the more high-profile tasks, such as contributing programme ideas, interviewing guests or presenting part of a programme.
In speech or news radio, you would often be asked to go out and collect short interviews from the general public.
Your hours would depend on the programme you worked on, so may involve evenings, late nights and weekends. You would often need to work overtime.
You would work in offices and recording studios, usually as part of a small team including a producer, a presenter and possibly a researcher.
Starting salaries are often between £13,000 and £18,000 a year.