Māngai Reo Irirangi
Radio presenters introduce music, and present or host programmes on the radio.
Radio presenters usually earn
$39K-$150K per year
Source: MediaWorks, 2017.
Pay for radio presenters varies depending on the size of the radio station and the experience and popularity of the presenter.
- Entry level radio presenters usually earn between minimum wage and $55,000 a year.
- After one to five years' experience they usually earn between $55,000 and $75,000 a year.
- Senior radio presenters with five to ten years' experience usually earn between $75,000 and $95,000 a year.
- Radio presenters who are popular breakfast announcers can earn up to $150,000 a year.
They may work on contracts where they are paid only for the time they are on air.
Source: Mediaworks, 2017.
- 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 for programmes and interviews
- prepare scripts
- host interviews or talkback shows
- operate studio equipment
- select and play programmes and music
- communicate with the audience via social media, email and telephone
- turn content into video
- share content on social media when on or off air
- read news, sports or weather reports
- provide a commentary on live events
- present advertisement interviews (advertorials) with advertising clients
- host outside events such as community events and competitions.
Skills and knowledge
Radio presenters need to have:
- knowledge of different musical styles and performers
- knowledge of issues and subjects of interest to their audience
- technical skills in order to operate broadcasting equipment.
Knowledge of current affairs is useful for talkback hosts, newsreaders and interviewers.
- usually work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends
- work in radio studios for amateur, community or commercial radio stations
- work in conditions that may be stressful due to strict timetables and deadlines.
What's the job really like?
What do you enjoy about your job?
"I love music and I love getting behind the microphone and communicating with the audience.
"The great thing about this job is that I can help people, whether it's by playing music they like or giving them tickets to something – just little things like that.
"I recently did a missing pet notice and later on I called them to see if they had found their pet – and they had. Human nature stories like that just make my day.
What does broadcasting involve?
"It's all about knowing who your audience are and catering to them, and because we are a community radio station, it's important to know what's out there in terms of community organisations and events.
"I play a mixture of hip hop, soul, rhythm and blues, and adult contemporary. I am blessed to work somewhere that shares my taste in music! Gone are the days of being defiant and thinking I was the programme director as well – like back in my student days!
There are no specific entry requirements to become a radio presenter as skills are learned on the job. However, you need a clear speaking voice and a broadcasting qualification or technical equipment training may be useful.
Radio presenters usually start under the direction of a senior presenter.
- 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, Te Reo Māori, music and drama are useful subjects.
Radio presenters need to be:
- confident and able to think quickly on their feet
- relaxed and able to work well under pressure, as they have the attention of an audience and work to strict timetables
- interested in people and the community
- excellent communicators with good listening skills
- good at planning and research
- good at managing time
- able to pronounce English and 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
- Radio Broadcasters' Association
- (09) 378 0788 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.rba.co.nz
- New Zealand Broadcasting School, Ara Institute of Canterbury
- (03) 940 7546 - www.nzbs.com
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 18 September 2020