About 8% of the UK’s radio industry is based in Scotland, making it the third largest provider after London and Northern Ireland.
It accounts for around 1400 jobs across national, commercial, and community radio stations. Together with television, radio broadcasting turns over more than £2.3 million in Scotland every year. And on its own, it’s worth an impressive £600 million to the UK economy.
The big picture
Scottish audiences tune in to about 21 hours of radio every week. Half of those listeners choose local or national commercial channels. Most of the remainder are listening to the BBC network, with only about 3% listening to other sources, like community or internet radio.
The industry is becoming increasingly involved in digital and social media channels. 84% of Scottish listeners now access radio via digital TV, DAB radio or online.
Working in radio
Broadly speaking, jobs in radio fall into five categories:
- Broadcasting and production - presenting, creating and scheduling audio content, playlist management and voiceover work
- Journalism - researching, writing, compiling and presenting local and national news and traffic content
- Marketing - promoting the station, its brand and its content
- Sales - selling airtime to advertisers to support commercial radio stations
- Engineering - covers a wider range of roles than any of the other categories, including physical maintenance of broadcasting platforms and equipment, managing live links and feeds, and keeping the studio in working order
Unlike many of the other creative industries, only a small proportion — 17% — of people working in radio are freelancers. Most operate as broadcast journalists, voiceover artists and audio producers.
Developing your skills
The BBC Academy aims to help freelancers in the media industry to broaden and develop the skills they need to continue progressing in their careers. It includes general information about the skills needed across a variety of roles and a range of online learning resources. It also organises short, subsidised courses and workshops around the country.
The Radio Academy offers training and development opportunities for anyone working or interested in the sector. It hosts national and regional training events for both new entrants to the industry and experienced professionals.
Radio Centre is the industry body for commercial radio, working with more than 40 licenced radio station operators across the UK. It provides training and events for members.
Funding and support
The BBC is publicly funded, and commercial stations are funded by their advertising revenue. Community stations, on the other hand, need help to get started and to keep running.
The community radio fund is run through Ofcom. It aims to help community stations to cover core costs. Grant applications are invited twice a year.
Community radio stations may qualify for funding to support accredited training courses — more information is available from online resource Community Radio Toolkit.
Connect:Transmit has an information and advice section on funding that could help you find some creative routes to financial support you might not have considered before.
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