Radio sales jobs involve selling advertising for a radio station. Sales experience or a college degree help prepare you for work in this career. Entry-level candidates should have the ability to communicate persuasively. Typically, radio sales is a performance-based pay structure, and some find this aspect of the career stressful. Economic downturns lead to advertising budget cuts, making competition for business steep.
Some radio stations offer prospective sales reps a draw against commission. If you are paid by draw, you receive a paycheck in a set amount which is offset by a commission settlement periodically. For instance, let us say you make 15 percent commission, your draw was $300 per week and you sold $10,000 in radio advertising during the month in question. Your month's commission would be $1,500. Since your commissions for the month exceeded the $1,200 draw, you receive another check for the balance due, $300, at the end of that month. If you have a draw, your pay is really 100 percent commission-based.
Base Salary plus Commission
Since radio sales jobs often offer a base pay plus a commission, the first element of a radio salesperson's pay is usually a base salary. The base salary is yours to keep no matter what (or until you are fired for lack of performance), while the draw is a loan against future commissions. These are similar pay structures, but the base will never be owed back to your employer. The commission that comes with a base salary may be a lower commission than the draw arrangement because of this bit of perceived job security. Some employers may use these terms erroneously. So, ask prospective employers exactly how it works before you agree on employment with them.
According to Gregg Murray of iRadioSales.com, starting salaries in his market begin around $20,000 per year. With good sales results, you can expect to make $30,000 the first year. With very good sales skills, you can make $40,000 the first year. With long-term perseverance, you may earn over $90,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages for sales agents in radio and TV in 2008 was $41,750 per year. In May 2009, median annual salary for a advertising sales agent in radio and TV had increased to $53,560 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics. In February, 2011, Simply Hired shows average radio sales salaries at $49,000 per year. Agree on a fair reimbursement policy for travel or vehicle expenses. Otherwise, the expenses of making outside sales calls will come out of your pocket.
Larger metropolitan areas have the best pay prospects in the radio advertising sales arena. But, stations in these larger markets may prefer college-degreed candidates. While smaller communities may be more open to hiring and training candidates without college education, they tend to pay less than larger metropolitan areas because their market has less overall potential. If you have a proven history of advertising sales, you have excellent prospects in radio sales no matter where you live.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook; Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Commerce: Advertising Sales Agents; 2010 - 2011 Edition
- Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages: Advertising Sales Agents; May 2009
- Simply Hired: Average Radio Sales Salaries
- MediaRecruiter.com; Media and Advertising Sales Jobs in TV, Radio and Cable; February 2011