Radio Traffic Manager
Radio Traffic Managers in Commercial Radio are responsible for scheduling advertising and promotions in line with the business strategy of a radio station or group of stations, in order to ensure effectiveness and maximise revenue.
Radio Traffic Managers may work for a single station, or as part of a larger regional or national department serving a number of stations or radio brands. The role is largely office based, and there are Traffic Departments in radio stations throughout the UK. The specific responsibilities of Traffic Managers and the size of the team they manage, depends on the station or stations for which they are responsible.
The role is only found in Commercial Radio, although staff and volunteers in Community radio are also responsible for scheduling radio advertising and promotions.
There is no commercial advertising on BBC Radio. The planning and scheduling of BBC wide promotional campaigns is done centrally. Other decisions about the scheduling of programme trails and promotions are made by staff on the individual stations or networks.
What is the job?
Radio Traffic Managers run traffic teams, whose purpose is to accurately schedule commercial airtime and station promotions, and to produce data analysing the effectiveness of campaigns for the sales team and clients. They co–ordinate the work of Traffic Executives and Traffic Assistants.
Radio Traffic Managers are expected to work closely with colleagues in sales marketing, sponsorship, promotions, events, publicity and programming. They must ensure that their team offers an efficient service, handling bookings, communicating availability to the Sales team, and ensuring that all commercial activity is delivered to the satisfaction of clients and agencies.
Traffic Managers are also responsible for ensuring that all broadcast material complies with the law, regulation and industry codes; that it meets the station's audio quality guidelines; and that all use of music is correctly reported within the terms of the station's music licences.
Most of their work is office–based, but the job may involve long hours. Juggling competing demands is highly pressurised work. Traffic Managers must have the ability to prioritise to meet exacting deadlines.
Typical Career Routes
Although there is no set entry route for Traffic Managers in Radio, employers look for significant experience of dealing with traffic in Radio or related media environments, such as TV broadcasters or advertising agencies.
Some Traffic Managers start their careers as Traffic Assistants and work their way up, gaining knowledge and experience on the job. Others may have a degree or other qualification in a relevant subject.
Whatever an individual's qualifications, employers look for evidence of interest in radio broadcasting, particularly skills acquired in community radio, student or hospital radio.
Once in post, career progression for Traffic Managers may involve moving to a larger station; or from a local team to a regional or national traffic department – progressing to more senior roles in traffic management in Radio. Others may move into traffic roles in TV or in advertising agencies.
Essential Knowledge & Skills
Radio Traffic Managers need the following:
- excellent organisational and administrative skills
- attention to detail
- ability to analyse and interpret data, and make the information accessible for non–specialist colleagues
- good writing and presentation skills
- knowledge of the Radio market, different station and programme styles, and audience demographics
- familiarity with the increasing range of communications platforms, and how they can be used for advertising and marketing campaigns
- a good understanding of the radio sales process
- ability to work independently, but also as part of a team
- self–motivation and adaptability
- ability to work effectively under pressure, react quickly, and meet tight deadlines
- determination, diplomacy, and good interpersonal skills
- ability to coach, and to develop others' talents
- a thorough knowledge of the law, ethics and industry regulations as they affect radio advertising
- knowledge of when it is necessary, and how to acquire the relevant clearances and licenses, including copyright and music clearances
- knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
- a high level of IT skills – particularly good word–processing and data handling skills
- ability to use relevant traffic management and playout software
Training and qualifications
Formal qualifications are not essential, and some Traffic Managers may work their way up from an entry level role in traffic secured without a degree or equivalent qualification. When recruiting Traffic Assistants, employers may simply expect good administrative skills, attention to detail, and some evidence of interest in Radio. However at the level of Traffic Manager, some employers regard a degree in media or business–related subjects as an advantage.
Once in post, Radio Traffic Managers are expected to develop their skills on the job. Most employers also offer a variety of forms of training to keep the skills and knowledge of their traffic staff up–to–date, and to introduce new technologies. This training may be offered in–house, or supplied by external providers, depending on the size and structure of different Radio organizations and employers.
Some colleges and private training providers offer a range of short courses which support professional development in Radio, and may offer individuals the opportunity to gain promotion or to change career direction.
Where to go for more information
For detailed media careers information and advice, contact one of the free careers helplines. Call 08080 300 900 in England (also available to callers from Wales and Northern Ireland) or 08458 502 502 in Scotland.
- Radio Academy – industry wide charity dedicated to promoting excellence in UK audio broadcasting and production, running a comprehensive programme of conferences, masterclasses and other networking events across the country
- Radio Centre – industry association for UK Commercial Radio funded by the majority of stations – database of groups and stations, Radio Centre Player, information and advice on work placements and how to get job in Radio
- BBC – sites for all BBC national and local radio stations, listen live or listen again to much BBC Radio output, information and advice on work experience and jobs
- Community Media Association
- Student Radio Association
- Hospital Broadcasting Association
- BECTU – the UK media and entertainment trade union with information on pay and conditions, training, and access to individual advice on personal and contract issues
- National Union of Journalism – the trade union for journalists in the UK and Ireland – with information on pay and conditions, training, legal advice and more.
- Radio Today – radio industry news site
- Radio Now – Radio station directory, listen live to many UK radio stations
- Advertising Standards Authority – independent regulator for advertisements, sales promotion and direct marketing in the UK; details of radio advertising standards code
- Marketing & Sales Standards Setting Body – best practice standards for Marketing, Marketing Communications, Sales and Telesales, career information and other resources
- Chartered Institute of Sales & Marketing Management – UK professional body for salespeople, awarding body for qualifications in selling and sales management, list of training providers and other resources
- Chartered Institute of Marketing – the leading international body for professional marketers, details of qualifications and training and further resources
- The Marketing Society – network for senior marketers, some articles and other information available to non–members on website.
- Broadcast the weekly newspaper for the UK TV and Radio industry
- Media Guardian
- Campaign weekly magazine for the advertising industry
- Marketing Week
- Creating Powerful Radio, Valerie Geller ISBN–10: 0240519280
- Essential Radio Skills, Peter Stewart ISBN–10: 0713679131
- The Broadcast Voice, Jenni Mills ISBN–10: 0240519396
- Presenting on TV & Radio, Janet Trewin ISBN–10: 024051906X
- Marketing: Concepts & Strategies, Sally Dibbs, Lyndon Simkin, William M. Pride & O.C. Ferrell ISBN–13: 978–0618532032
- Making Waves: Radio On The Verge, Mark Ramsey ISBN–10: 1440102570
- An Advertiser's Guide to Better Radio Advertising, Andrew Ingram & Mark Barber ISBN–10: 0470012927
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Last update 2009.
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