Television and radio news stations rely on commercial ads for budget money. The news traffic assistant helps keep the advertising department on track, like a traffic director, making sure advertisers stay happy and ads keep running to fund the station. TV and radio stations typically require a traffic assistant to have a least a high school diploma and provide on-the-job training to teach her what she needs to know to fulfill the job duties.
Commercials and Advertisements
Television and radio news stations would not exist if not for advertising dollars. Advertisements and commercials run in between news segments, and often a company or business pays to sponsor a certain portion of the news, such as the sports or weather segment. A news traffic assistant, who reports to the traffic director, helps manage all the advertisers that help keep stations running. The traffic assistant manages each company’s ad copy, entering it into the computer system, assuring that all copy is correct and setting the schedule for ad air dates and times. Additional duties include writing and revising instructions for businesses to submit advertising contracts.
One main job duty of a traffic assistant is organizing and tracking advertising contracts. She helps manage the ad contracts by working with the sales department and finding and filling in any missing information on the contracts. The assistant then enters the contracts into a computer system and keep records of all contracts in a database. When a company has not fulfilled its contract, the assistant informs the traffic director and works with that company to assure that both parties fulfill their part in the contract.
Because radio and television stations around the U.S. have seen a drastic reduction in budgets, the traffic assistant may wear other hats, taking care of tracking media numbers, including viewership and listener stats. The traffic assistant organizes and keeps tracks of tapes of advertising and commercials and distributes them as needed. Additional administrative duties an assistant may perform include running errands for the traffic director, helping the programming director put together programs and assisting with outside fundraisers for the station. A traffic assistant may also assist with the billing of advertisers.
A traffic assistant should have excellent data-entry skills, pay attention to detail and work well under pressure to meet deadlines. The assistant should be able to work well in a team setting, as well as work independently, and have excellent oral and written communication skills. Along with operating basic computer programs, the traffic assistant must run specialty advertising and traffic software programs such as Wide Orbit, Protrack, Broadview or Columbine. Because of the high-pressure atmosphere, a station may opt to hire a traffic assistant with previous experience in a news station environment.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.