Radio DJ – Rick Lauber

Stan T.

Day in the life of
Radio DJ – Rick Lauber

Rick Lauber
Radio DJ
A small town radio station

Working for five small-town radio stations over seven years taught me many life lessons – one of which was that radio was not the best career choice for me!

As a novice announcer, I began my career by working a late-night shift for low pay. I found there was tough competition to find and keep work. The job requires moving away from one’s home, family, and friends. There is also little career stability – management can change suddenly and even long-term announcers can be “let go” due to formatting changes.

Radio attracted me back in the day as I loved music and had some stars in my eyes. The job, as it turned out, was anything but glamorous. My four-hour on-air shifts were just the beginning… my work days also included doing show preparation (finding news and stories to talk about), arriving at the station ahead of time to pick my music for my shift, writing and recording a weekly “Top 10” countdown, and often doing production (voicing commercials) afterwards. There were on-location broadcasts where I, and/or other announcers, would personally visit a local business and do live reports to promote a sale. At one radio station, I was also the designated newsman and was required to attend evening town council meetings, return to the station, and file a related news story for the following morning.

While I did have some fun in radio, I was much younger than I am now. My advice to those considering this field would be to work it for several years, learn what you can, but then look at other career opportunities. I’m not being cynical, just realistic.


  • Personal learning and growing opportunities: By moving away from home and living on my own for years, I learned what I was capable of doing and matured.
  • Scenery: Depending on where a novice radio announcer moves to work, there can be some incredible scenery. I was lucky enough to work in Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, and Golden (all in British Columbia, Canada) and woke up to magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains each day.
  • Friendly people: Radio careers are, invariably, begun in small towns where the residents are often friendlier than in bigger cities. I recall at one radio job, I was surprised to have a “Welcome Wagon” hostess arrive at my door with a basket of treats and coupons for local businesses as a means of welcoming me to the community. Novice radio announcers will better know their neighbours.
  • Increased confidence: Being on-air (specifically working the live “on-locations”) increased my nerves. I am far more comfortable with meeting and networking with new people today.
  • Name recognition: In a small town, it’s likely that everybody will know a novice announcer’s name as everybody will listen to the local radio station. If someone values some quiet time, however, this is not always a benefit.


  • Moving: Radio careers are often started in small-town markets requiring the novice announcer to move away from home (away from friends and family). Radio announcers will also have to move for other work opportunities (once they have learned all they can at one small town, there may be no other opportunities or reasons for them to stay …). I have seen numerous announcers who have criss-crossed the country to continue working in the field. Moving is easier when you are young, but becomes far more difficult as you age!
  • Low pay: Small-town radio announcers rarely earn much of a salary. At my first job, I recall making $1000/month (take home) and actually had to take a pay cut to continue working there! Novice radio announcers may face many lean years (I ate macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner…) before finding a more lucratively-paying position at a more major market radio station.
  • Egos: There are, unfortunately, other novice radio announcers who think they are much better on-air than they actually are (this can easily happen at bigger radio stations as well…). Dealing with this personality type may be difficult and clashes may occur.
  • Long working days: A radio announcer doesn’t just work a four-hour on-air shift! I had to arrive early to select my music to play each day. I had to do “show preparation” each day to find topical news and entertaining trivia to talk about on my next show. I often was required to complete a “production shift” after my on-air shift (meaning my voicing commercials and public service announcements). A novice radio announcer, with little experience, may easily begin his/her career working a late night / overnight on-air shift. A novice radio announcer may be required to do other work outside the radio station on his/her own time (e.g. on-location broadcasts/community appearances can be scheduled for a weekend morning that the announcer may otherwise have “off”).
  • Lack of social activities: Small towns will not have the same number of social activities for novice radio announcers (all of my previous homes away from home only had one movie theatre). Therefore, a novice radio announcer may suffer from less to do outside his/her working time and become more lonely.
Rick Lauber
Radio DJ
A small town radio station
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Radio TV Announcers

speak or read from scripted materials, such as news reports or commercial messages, on radio, television, or other communications media. May play and queue music, announce artist or title of performance, identify station, or interview guests.

Salary: $57300
Salary Rank: C
Education: Bachelor's degree
Becoming One: Hard
Job Satisfaction: Average
Job Growth: Low
Suitable Personality: The Artist