The 2012 Salary Survey in Review

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Even before Radio magazine's stand-alone launch in 1994 we have taken a snapshot of the salaries in radio. Once again, we asked for your input to compile data for our annual salary survey. The online form was posted through September, October and November.

Chriss Scherer

The data we collect is only a small sample of those who work in technical roles in the United States. While I would like more people to take the survey, I still think the data we collect is valid for general comparisons and trends. You can see the results in Sign Off in the December 2012 issue.

On the survey, we asked respondents a question at the end: If you could change one thing to improve your current job, what would it be?

This open-ended question yields some interesting replies. There were a few that expressed contentment. All is well in their careers. That's always good to hear, but most of the responses note something could use improvement. Some are small changes. Some are outright visceral complaints.

Among the smaller group of wanted changes are calls for new equipment, improvements in station morale or communication, and a desire for more career-related training. Another smaller group of desired changes calls for new management. One response mentioned that HD Radio should be turned off.

Another respondent recalled when radio used to be fun. He noted station staff events such as barbecues and getting an early release before a holiday weekend. He lamented the extreme focus on running the business and the bottom line without regard for the people who make that happen.

That's important in any work environment.

The topic getting the second-most attention for change related to salaries. To deal with the recent financial crush some businesses cut salaries to stay afloat. Others haven't offered raises in many years. This year's data shows that more people received a raise in the past 12 months (54 percent) than they did in in the 2011 survey (46 percent). That's a good sign for the economy and great news for our respondents.

The largest number of comments related to staffing, and most of these comments related to adding an assistant engineer or an IT specialist. Related to this, some comments also touched on the desire for increased respect of the engineering team among the station staff.

While engineering staffs shrink, either in straight head counts at a facility or by increasing the number of stations in a cluster without adding to the engineering team, it's important to note that radio is a business based on technology. When the technology doesn't work, there's no revenue. And quite often, new or enhanced technology and the engineering team responsible for it can add to the station's bottom line.

Respect is earned and not given. It can seem hopeless when the engineer is treated like a necessary evil. Some of this is our own fault. In general, we who work well with technology are not always the best at office decorum and politics. Whenever possible, make an extra effort with the sales, programming, promotion and management teams. The results are often easy to see.

So next summer when you see a link for the salary survey, please take a few minutes to participate. We want to provide the most useful information we can to radio, and your input makes that possible.

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