As the traffic director at a radio station, you are essentially the station’s commercials DJ. Instead of spinning the hits of yesterday and today, you plan when commercials air during a broadcast. You’ll also work closely with the sales department and may need to prepare billing reports to confirm that you aired the commercial in line with any advertiser requests.
A radio station’s traffic refers to its paid advertisements and commercials. Fitting advertisements into a radio show is a numbers game. Advertisers buy airtime during a specific time window, such as a morning show or lunchtime program. Radio traffic directors must then schedule the advertisements, make sure similar advertisements don’t run one after the other, and also leave room for any station-specific advertisements. You’ll also make sure that advertisements meet Federal Communication Commission standards and may need to remove offensive commercials from the line-up.
You’ll work closely with the sales department to reconcile station advertiser commitments against when the commercials aired. Your advertiser may be able to ask for their money back if you don’t run their commercial in line with specifications, such as between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m. on a Wednesday in June. You may also oversee your station’s library of promos, commercials and sponsor spots. For example, a company that sponsors a specific program may require you to air one or more of their commercials during that time period.
Education and Experience
How much education and experience you need varies by radio station. For example, traffic directors at WQME 98.7 in Lafayette, Indiana, must have between 1 and 3 years of experience. The station also prefers, but does not require, traffic directors to have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Radio One in Indianapolis, Indiana, weighs an applicant’s experience and education together, requiring that they have the equivalent of an associate’s degree and between 3 and 5 years of relevant experience and training.
To succeed as a radio traffic director, you need to work well under pressure and with others. You may also need to be familiar with the specific traffic software that the station uses. For example, to work as a radio traffic director for Curtis Media Group in Raleigh, North Carolina, you should have previous experience using Marketron Traffic Software, while radio traffic directors at Entercom in Wichita, Kansas, must have experience using WideOrbit’s Traffic System. You also need to be familiar and comfortable with using basic word-processing software and e-mail programs.
- Traffic Directors Guild of America: TDGA Sample Packet of Job Descriptions Relating to Traffic Department Positions: Traffic Director Job Description
- Cumulus Broadcasting: Full-Time Traffic Director WFAS
- Curtis Media Group: Traffic/Continuity Director
- Entercom Wichita: Traffic Director
- Radio One: Traffic Director
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.