Māngai Reo Irirangi
Radio presenters prepare and present news, music, interviews and other radio programmes to entertain and inform audiences.
Radio presenters with up to five years' experience usually earn
$42K-$70K per year
Senior radio presenters usually earn
$70K-$90K per year
Source: NZ Broadcasting School, 2021.
Pay for radio presenters varies depending on experience, audience size and where they work (what radio station).
- Entry-level radio presenters usually earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.
- After three to five years' experience radio presenters usually earn between $50,000 and $70,000.
- Senior radio presenters with five to ten years' experience usually earn between $70,000 and $90,000.
- High-profile radio presenters with large audiences can earn
more than $90,000.
Entry-level radio presenters are usually paid a salary while more experienced radio presenters are usually paid contract rates.
Source: New Zealand Broadcasting School, 2021.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Radio presenters may do some or all of the following:
- research and prepare scripts for programmes and interviews
- host interviews or talkback shows
- operate studio equipment
- select and play music and programmes
- read news, sports or weather reports
- provide commentary on live or current events
- communicate with their audience via social media, email and telephone
- write, narrate and produce adverts and promotions for radio station clients
- host community events and competitions.
Skills and knowledge
Radio presenters need to have:
- excellent communication skills
- knowledge of different musical styles, trends and performers
- knowledge of current events and subjects of interest to the audience
- technical skills in order to operate broadcasting equipment.
- usually work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends
- work in radio studios for community-based or commercial local, regional or national (network) radio stations
What's the job really like?
From an early age Matthew Pledger had a fascination with radio that eventually led to him becoming a radio announcer.
Work experience and study
“My journey in radio started with work experience when I was 13. I loved the environment and after finishing college I applied to study at the New Zealand Broadcasting School.
“Studying isn’t necessary to get into radio, but I strongly recommend it. The training and practical skills I learned are the reason I got an internship and that resulted in a job working as an announcer. I’m now hosting the network breakfast show on More FM every Saturday.”
Lots of variety
“During the week I write and read traffic reports that get broadcast nationally across radio networks. On Saturday I do the network breakfast show which involves reading local marine and individual weather reports for all of the regions. I also prepare content for the show so it’s a very early start but an incredibly fun work environment. No two days are the same.”
Work hard and opportunities will come
“As younger generations embrace different ways to tell stories, there will be opportunities for jobs. The radio industry is always looking for those who can share stories and be engaging.
“Work hard, be curious and when an opportunity comes you’ll be ready.”
There are no specific requirements to become a radio presenter as you gain skills on the job. However, most employers prefer to hire radio presenters who have a clear speaking voice and a broadcasting qualification.
- New Zealand Broadcasting School, Ara Institute of Canterbury - information on radio presenter qualifications
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a radio presenter. However, English, languages, media studies, music, dance and drama, te reo Māori, and digital technologies are useful.
Radio presenters need to be:
- excellent communicators with good listening skills
- organised and good at planning and research
- confident and quick thinking
- able to work to rigid schedules and manage time effectively
- relaxed and personable
- able to make decisions under pressure and improvise if necessary
- interested in people and the community
- able to pronounce English and te reo Māori words correctly and clearly.
Useful experience for radio presenters includes:
- public speaking
- sales and marketing
- drama or speech training
- any work in the broadcasting industry.
Radio presenters need to have clear speech and an expressive voice.
Find out more about training
- Auckland University of Technology
- 0800 288 864 - www.aut.ac.nz
- New Zealand Broadcasting School, Ara Institute of Canterbury
- (03) 940 7546 - www.nzbs.com
- New Zealand School Of Radio
- 027 246 8224 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.radiocareer.net
- Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
- 0508 926264 - email@example.com - www.wananga.ac.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Vacancies decreasing due to high competition for audiences
The number of vacancies at established radio stations is decreasing because radio is competing with other types of media for audience attention. There is strong competition for any jobs that become available.
According to the Census, 441 radio presenters worked in New Zealand in 2018.
More opportunities at community, iwi and student radio stations
Your best chances of getting work as a radio presenter are with community, iwi and student radio stations. There are more entry-level positions available at these stations due to higher staff turnover. It is a good way to get work experience.
Positions at community, iwi and student radio stations are often poorly paid or voluntary, and competition is high for vacancies.
A broad range of skills improves your chances
There are few people working full time as radio presenters. Part-time radio presenters often work part time in related broadcasting work as well. Having a variety of media skills, such as journalism, video production and social media, improve your chances of getting work.
Create podcasts to gain experience
A good way to gain experience and show your potential is to record a podcast show (a recorded audio file discussing a specific subject for 20-90 minutes) and build up a following. Podcasts can be profitable if they have lots of followers or get brand sponsorship.
Employers of radio presenters
Major employers of radio presenters in New Zealand include:
- Radio New Zealand.
Smaller community, iwi and student radio stations throughout New Zealand also employ radio presenters.
- Casey, S, radio presenter, MediaWorks, Careers New Zealand interview, March 2017.
- Maisey, W, MediaWorks, Careers New Zealand interview, March 2017.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Radio presenters usually start off working for a small regional radio station before moving into roles with larger, more popular radio stations.
Radio presenters may specialise in areas such as music DJing, talkback and current affairs.
Last updated 26 March 2021