How to become a studio director

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in radio news? Scroll down to hear from studio directors who work on everything from podcasts to Newsbeat. They play a vital role in the logistics that bring the creative vision for shows to life. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Studio directors are incredibly important to presenters. We really don’t know a lot of what is going on – who is on the line, who isn’t turning up. So, we rely on that key relationship with the studio director to keep us informed. Evan Davis - Presenter on the PM Programme on BBC Radio 4

You may hear of other roles similar to a studio director, both in the BBC and elsewhere – studio manager, technical producer or technical operator, to name just a few! Commercial radio stations may refer to these roles as "producer" but, at the BBC, the studio director role is slightly different. It focuses more on the technical and operational side of things, and works with programme production teams to realise their creative vision for programmes.

What does a studio director do at the BBC?

The studio director:

  • works in a live broadcasting environment
  • is the direct contact with the presenter, producer or editor to realise their programme ideas
  • is responsible for balancing and controlling audio when required
  • is a problem solver, dealing with challenging situations in a live transmission environment
  • works as a supervisor, overseeing the department’s work to make sure everything runs smoothly when a big news story breaks
  • edits and mixes audio from journalists and producers all over the world.

What to expect if you want to become a studio director

This job profile is about being a studio director but a similar role is an 'audio engineer'.

  • Audio engineer average salary: Variable ranging from £15,000 to £40,000 per year
  • Audio engineer typical working hours: 35 to 41 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be an audio engineer?

  • Typical entry requirements:
    • You can get into this job through a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship or specialist courses run by private training providers
    • Undergraduate degree: You could do a foundation degree or degree in Sound Engineering and Production, Audio Engineering or Music Production. You'll usually need at least one A-level (or equivalent) for a foundation degree and two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You could take a college course like Level 3 Diploma in Sound Production or Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology
    • Apprenticeship: You could complete a creative venue technician or technical theatre advanced apprenticeship, which have options in sound
    • Working your way up: You could start as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio and work your way up by learning basic tasks and making contacts. You can also work on community music events, DJ projects, hospital or community radio, or mix and record music in a home studio and post your work online.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Job inspiration: Roles in the media and creative sector
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