2001 Salary Survey


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Are you getting enough?

As the face of radio broadcasting evolves, industry professionals are faced with many decisions, including determining a fair salary. The annual BE Radio Salary Survey can help make this decision an easier one.

In this rapidly changing environment, many in the radio industry are concerned about such issues as the transition to digital, consolidation, and the increasing use of the Internet and computers. Another area of concern, especially in light of the current economy, is salary. With all the changes, and the consequent new demands and responsibilities, how are salaries changing, and how is that reflected among readers of BE Radio magazine?

In an effort to answer this question, BE Radio provides its readers with the annual Salary Survey. Each year, research is conducted exclusively for BE Radio to determine the latest salary trends. Primedia Business Corporate Research performs the data collection and analysis. This year's data was gathered from June through July. The main objectives of the survey were to determine salary levels among BE Radio readers for select title groups, to examine salary trends over time and to consider broadcast salaries in terms of professional certification.

Greasing the pig

This year's survey, conducted through letters sent via e-mail to 4,000 BE Radio subscribers selected on an nth name basis among radio station and network subscribers, resulted in 446 usable surveys, translating into an effective response rate of 11.2 percent.



Figure 1. Estimated median salaries for station management.


The results of this study are presented by job title group and market rank (top 50 and below top 50). Response subcategories are delineated as follows: 130 station managers (39 top 50, 91 below top 50); 214 staff engineers (117 top 50, 97 below top 50); and 35 contract engineers (14 top 50, 21 below top 50).

Eighty percent of station management and 57 percent of staff engineers work for a radio station or multiple stations. However, most of the contract engineers (65 percent) work independently or for contract engineering firms.

The information gathered in the survey is intended to illustrate broad trends in the radio industry and is not meant to be used as the sole source for determining salaries. Treat the data as a starting point for salary ranges. Factors like cost of living and the demand for a particular job are also important in determining salary range.

Money in the bank

The median salaries among responding station managers have increased in 2001 in large and small markets. The estimated median salary for station management is $57, 498 for the top 50 market, compared with $51,000 for this market in 2000, an increase of 13 percent. The below top 50 market also saw an increase, though a modest one. This group's median salary rose 3 percent, from $43,749 in 2000 to $44,998 in 2001. (See Figure 1.)



Figure 2. Estimated median salaries for staff engineers.


The reported salaries of staff engineers tell a different story. In 2001, as in 2000, staff engineers in the top 50 market have seen a decrease in pay. The salaries for this market have fallen to $54,999 in 2001. This is a five percent decrease from $57,894 in 2000. In the below top 50 market, however, staff engineers have fared better. After a 7.7 percent decrease in 2000, salaries have jumped 11.8 percent to $43,844, surpassing a previous high of $42,500 (1999). This increase marks a dramatic change for below top 50 staff engineers, who haven't seen a pay increase greater than 3.9 percent since 1997. (See Figure 2.)

Due to a small number of respondents in the contract engineer category, we have combined responses in the top 50 market and the below top 50 market to come up with an average salary among all contract engineers. The median salary among all responding contract engineers for 2001 is $49,999, an 11% increase over the $44,999 median for 2000. Due to the small sample pool, however, this increase is not likely to be reflective of the industry as a whole. The survey revealed that ⅓ of responding contract engineers receive 75% or more of their income from radio broadcast work. To further gauge salaries of contract engineers, BE Radio asked contract engineers to provide an average hourly rate. Again taking all responding contract engineers together, an average hourly rate of $44 per hour was reported. (See Figures 3 and 4.)



Figure 3. Estimated median salaries for contract engineers.


Upping the ante

We now ask: Does it pay to hold SBE (or any other) certification? According to our respondents, the answer is yes. Though salaries for non-SBE certified engineers have increased, while salaries for SBE-certified engineers have decreased slightly, engineers with SBE certification still bring in a higher salary than those without. Figure 5 illustrates this finding. Respondents with SBE certification have reported greater salaries than those without since 1998.

While SBE certification has increased overall in 2001, the number of responding engineers who are SBE certified has decreased. Of our survey participants, 32 percent of all engineers are SBE certified, a 13 percent decrease from 2000. However, SBE certification for contract engineers has increased from 38 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2001. Responding staff engineers that are SBE certified has decreased from 36 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2001.



Figure 4. Contract engineer's average hourly rate.


In this year's survey, we also looked at three other types of certification: NARTE, Microsoft and Novell. Station management certification is as follows: .8 percent possess NARTE certification; 4.6 percent are Microsoft certified and 1.5 percent have Novell certification. Staff engineers report a 2.8 percent certification rate for both NARTE and Microsoft certification; and 4.2 percent are Novell certified. Contract engineers report the following: 2.9 percent have NARTE certification; 11.4 percent are Microsoft certified and 2.9 percent are Novell certified.

Lining your pockets

Many participants reported an increase in salary in the last 12 months. For both station management and staff engineers, the median salary increase in 2001 was 4 percent. Though a median salary was unavailable for contract engineers, those responding did report a salary increase.



Figure 5. Esitmated median salaries by SBE certification.


More respondents in the top 50 markets received a salary increase within the last year than did those in smaller markets. Seventy-seven percent of station management in the top 50 market reported a salary increase, while 65 percent of those in the below top 50 market reported an increase. Staff engineers in both markets were nearly even (76 percent in the top 50 market and 75 percent in the below top 50 market). A lower percentage of contract engineers reported an increase. This may be due to the small number of respondents. Forty-three percent of contract engineers in the top 50 market reported an increase in salary, and 24 percent of those in the below top 50 market received a raise. (See Figure 6.)



Figure 6. Respondants receiving salary increases.


More info online

Survey respondants were also asked for feedback as to the the changes that have most affected their careers, their thoughts on the suitability of IBOC for use in the U.S., and if IT functions are considered part of the duties of engineering. Read some of the responses by following this link.




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