A few years back, Bob Greene, an American journalist, exclaimed: “Baseball hasn’t been the national pastime for many years now – no sport is. The national pastime, like it or not, is watching television.” But if you’re looking to get into the world of sports broadcasting, Greene's view couldn’t be better news. The more people who are watching TV, especially broadcast sports, the more anchors and reporters are needed to add a little color commentary to the audience’s viewing. As with almost any job, salaries vary, with the highest numbers coming for sports broadcasters working in the largest markets.
In 2011, radio and television announcers averaged $40,510 a year, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But high salaries can skew the average, and median wage is often a better indication of an announcer’s earnings. Half of all announcers earned less than $27,280 a year. Neither figure, however, accounts for “beat.” A news broadcaster, for example, isn’t paid the same wage as a sports broadcaster.
While sports anchors can earn anywhere from $14,000 to $650,000 a year, the average salary was closer to $60,000, found a survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association, RTDNA. The median wage was even lower, coming in at just $45,000. Sports reporters, on the other hand, average $38,300 a year. But half of all sports reporters earned less than $31,000 a year, adds the RTDNA.
As with any media career, market has quite an influence over earnings, and a sports broadcaster is no exception. In the top 25 markets, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, sports anchors earned $108,500 a year, while sports reporters earned $70,000 a year in 2012. In the next 25 markets, such as Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Nashville and San Diego, sports anchors earned $79,000 a year just for being in a smaller market. Sports reporters still command lower salaries, earning closer to $44,000. In the next 25 markets, salaries drop again, with anchors earning $54,200 and reporters earning $31,600.
Radio salaries are less than those in TV. For example, a sports anchor in radio averaged just $33,700 a year in 2012, reports the RTDNA. A radio sports reporter earned more, averaging $36,700 a year. Median wages were closer to $27,500 and $30,000, respectively.
2016 Salary Information for Announcers
Announcers earned a median annual salary of $30,860 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, announcers earned a 25th percentile salary of $21,320, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $50,780, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 52,700 people were employed in the U.S. as announcers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Radio and Television Announcers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Announcers
- Radio Television Digital News Association: 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Announcers
- Career Trend: Announcers
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.