Working in TV

There are many different positions available in television broadcasting. Below is a listing of the typical jobs at a TV station. However, please note that not every station will have all of these positions.

Types of Television Jobs:

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: The representative of the station who solicits advertising from commercial business. Account executives develop working relationships with local business leaders and with local advertising agencies and client representatives.

ASSIGNMENT EDITOR: This person is responsible for the gathering of the news that goes into a program. Usually a team effort, they set news coverage priorities, organize the logistics of camera crews and reporters, and arrange for the various satellite feeds and live on-scene coverage.

BUSINESS MANAGER: Responsible for all financial transactions. Business managers are generally expected to have extensive professional background in accounting and financial management.

CHIEF ENGINEER: Heads the technical staff. The chief engineer is the senior technical person at the station.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTOR: This person plans, coordinates and executes a station’s services and programs that are developed to respond to the needs of the community.

CONTINUITY WRITER: The continuity person writes some of the local commercial and promotional copy. Must be detail-orientated and have skills in computer and word-processor operation.

DIRECTOR: The person responsible for the actual on-line execution of a program. Serves as producers for entire programs or for the production of portions of larger programs.

ELECTRONIC NEWS GATHERING (ENG): They work alongside reporters to capture events on tape and to produce live, on-scene coverage of breaking news stories. In addition to operating the video camera and sound, ENG crews must also operate sophisticated microwave and satellite transmission equipment to “feed” programming or news segments back to the studio from remote locations.

ENG EDITOR: The person who edits tape taken by the ENG crew. ENG editors work with producers, reporters and writers to build news packages from the raw tape sent in from the field or gathered on feeds from networks or other sources.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: This position coordinates the content and presentation of broadcasts under the direction of the managing editor and news director.

GENERAL MANAGER: The person responsible for every aspect of a station’s operation. This position requires business knowledge, leadership ability and a technical understanding of how a station operates.

GENERAL SALES MANAGER: The person responsible for producing all advertising revenues for a station and for hiring, training and supervising the station’s sales staff. The general sales manager must also be adept at understanding the business climate in the community and must have a strong knowledge of the interests of the station audience. Some stations have multiple levels of sales managers, including National, Regional and Local sales managers who focus on various aspects of sales.

GRAPHIC ARTIST: Supports all production activities. Computer skills are particularly valuable, as is a background in art and design and radio-television production.

MAINTENANCE ENGINEERS: Responsible for the repair, maintenance, installation and modification of all of the electronic equipment in the station.

MASTER CONTROL/VIDEOTAPE ENGINEER: Responsible for operating the videotape recording and playback equipment for live programs and during commercial breaks in network and taped shows.

NEWS ANCHOR: The most visible members of the news staff. These are the people that appear as the “up front” personalities on local newscasts. Ideally, the news anchor is a complete journalist, familiar with reporting, on-scene live coverage and skilled at writing, and in some cases, producing news packages.

NEWS DIRECTOR: The news director supervises the news department. Must understand budgeting, personnel management and the technical aspects of television. In addition to having a firm understanding of the community service role of broadcast journalism, he or she must also have solid news judgment – the ability to determine which stories are most informative and of the greatest value to the local viewer.

NEWS REPORTERS: The key “front-line” people in the news department. They are on-the-scene at every kind of event. Local news reporters must be excellent writers, capable of working quickly and accurately to sum up the key elements of a news story and make it understandable and relevant to the audience.

NEWS WRITER: The writer’s responsibilities may include monitoring news feeds, preparing news packages for voicing by anchors or reporters, researching story information, booking guests for live interviews on news shows and producing segments of news programs. Exceptional writing skills are a must.

PRODUCER: This person develops and organizes local programs and is responsible for scripting, story development, booking of guests and overseeing field production and editing.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: A production assistant works with all production personnel, helping where necessary.

PRODUCTION MANAGER: This position is responsible for all of the details required in the actual production of local programming. The production manager supervised producers, directors, floor directors and stage managers.

PROGRAM DIRECTOR: The manager of the programming department. The program director works closely with the general manager and sales manager to determine and direct the station’s policies and to plan the most effective program schedule for the station.

PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: The promotions director’s job is to promote the station’s image, programs and activities. They conceive and execute a variety of written and taped station promotion spots, secure station advertising in other media, and in conjunction with the sales department, develop ways to keep current viewers and advertisers and to attract new ones.

RECEPTIONIST: The duties of the receptionist vary according to the size of the station. This position is ideal for understanding all the aspects of how a station operates.

STAGE MANAGER: The director’s representative on the studio floor and at the site of any live broadcast.

STATION MANAGER: The chief operating officer of the station. The station manager must have effective personnel management skills and a thorough knowledge of all aspects of broadcast operation.

STUDIO ENGINEERS: Responsible for operating all of the equipment necessary for the production of a program. This includes the studio cameras, the audio console, studio lighting, the video switcher, and in some stations, the character generator and the electronic still-storage graphics display equipment.

These job descriptions are provided by the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations.