Networks respond on wages and conditions in the radio industry

The market dynamic is changing, the cost of living is increasing and there is more competition for skilled staff from PR and Podcast companies who are paying more.

In our series of articles on this topic we have looked at the rising cost of living, the changing employment market and more competition from companies paying more than radio does. We also examined the economic realities of radio companies, the issue of contract restrictions and other issues associated with the sentiments raised in an open letter to radio employers.

The issues raised were more than financial, they also included lack of recognition and respect, some managers boasting about high salaries and bonuses while other staff are not allowed to reveal what they are paid, lack of career progression paths and an increasing workload without commensurate compensation and recognition.

Our readers have told us many stories about their experiences:

It’s not just a regional problem, it’s literally rampant everywhere.  Anon

You work the hours until the job is done (whether that’s music scheduling, promo script writing, etc), you do promo for the station outside of normal hours (for little, or no extra pay), you work weekend shifts, fill in when others are away, drive the promo vehicle, etc. And the perks (as mentioned in the article) are few and far between, despite you pulling the survey results.  Dan

I must have missed the memo. When is it the employer’s responsibility to “make ends meet” for their employees?   John

What a fantastic article! It’s a taboo not spoken about publicly enough. Our seniors – The GMs, the Sales Managers and greedy network owners have next to zero understanding of the reality on the ground.   Over It

I was disturbed numerous times outside of my contracted hours and when I flagged it with management, I was told to go work in the mines if I didn’t like it. I ended up leaving.   Anon

I worked on a Metro breakfast show a little while ago. The on air jocks got a pay increase from $600k to $800k each for turning up at 530am and leaving at 9am. For me, 15 hours was a ‘normal day’ plus most weekends.   Alan

I left the industry and realised that so many other industries paid far better and had fair and hefty bonus schemes. My next job out of radio was almost $75K more and has since risen at least $10K each year after fair salary review processes.   Former Promotions Director

Don’t get me wrong, I love this industry… but when your struggling to make ends meet…  there’s a real problem. As radio professionals we have a specific set of skills that take time, a lot of volunteering and in a lot of cases money for courses to acquire. Why should we be paid any less than an assistant manager at Woolies?   Anon

Will any of our CEOs / Group CDs have the courage to acknowledge our concerns and advocate for change?   Anon

There’s plenty more comments at the bottom of each of our previous articles.

Radio Today has put our readers’ views to the networks. We asked for their comments several weeks ago and received timely responses from SCA and ARN.

Nine Entertainment declined to comment saying “it’s not something that we’ve found to be an issue for our stations, hence the decision not to comment.”

Nova Entertainment did not respond by the time of publication.


Southern Cross Austereo

  • At SCA, we compensate our people with wages reflective of the market rate aligned with our competitors, other external benchmarks, and of course with vigilant adherence to the renumeration and entitlements outlined in relevant Modern Awards designed and reviewed annually for our industry
  • SCA reviews remuneration including base salary and incentives annually (the only year we were not able to do so was in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19). Our Annual Remuneration review process takes into consideration cost of living and inflationary increases but aims to reward performance and balance benchmarking within the business.
  • Internal compensation ranges are based on experience, tenure, and performance –  allowing SCA to hire for both potential and experience.
  • We acknowledge that the cost of living pressures are increasing, and like many of our peers we are seeing this reflected in the ability to attract for roles in the regions. We are committed to continually reviewing all markets where a disparity may exist. These challenges are experienced by many sectors.
  • Whilst remuneration is clearly important, we also deploy a range of other personal and professional benefits and strategies to retain our valued people. This includes workplace flexibility, substantial investment in Learning and Development programs to help our people upskill and grow, as well as an award-winning culture where people can be at their best and enjoy the work that they do.
  • SCA has a 50% internal mobility rate – meaning that of all vacant roles, 50% go to internal candidates. This indicates SCA’s commitment to continuing to develop people to have meaningful careers with us.


Australian Radio Network

Our philosophy at ARN is that in order to attract and retain the best people, we must have a simple, transparent and well understood approach to rewarding our people and recognising their achievements. This includes a holistic “total reward” offering across financial and non-financial elements, underpinned by an equitable, consistent approach for reward and recognition.

We are committed to ensuring staff are paid fairly for the work they do and proportionately to the business value of the role. Our remuneration framework enables us to check how people compare to a benchmarked group of companies and ensure we are rewarding people in similar roles consistently with others in similar roles internally and externally.


If we receive further comments from networks we will update this article.


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Recent comments (22)
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Shame Shame Shame
13 May 2022 - 8:42 am

Good on SCA and ARN for at least acknowledging this and responding. Shame on the others.

13 May 2022 - 8:46 am

Pretty standard responses, but at least we know the policies from two of the networks about this issue. At least it’s acknowleged.

13 May 2022 - 9:48 am

It’s telling that Nova hasn’t responded.

    13 May 2022 - 1:18 pm

    This comment has been edited.

Hello from the inside
13 May 2022 - 9:58 am

You might get a review if you’re lucky but the chance of that translating into anything more than a pat on the head and a maybe next year are slim. Loyalty/ Tenure/ Experience mean nothing.

Retaining the best… I’ve seen the best come and go making a living is not sustainable.

Staff were expected to take pay cuts and reduce hours during covid but networks posted a profit.

This industry needs a union.

All about profits
13 May 2022 - 10:05 am

What an absolute load of BS… Many people I know who were asked to take on roles in a metro capacity were told “no pay rise and no moving allowance” so spare us the we care.

    13 May 2022 - 1:19 pm

    This comment has been edited.

65 Days
13 May 2022 - 10:55 am

On March 9, an entire industry voiced concern. The people who make radio happen told the owners and managers of the networks that they are struggling, they felt undervalued and underpaid… the response was 65 days of deafening silence. Then this.

A generic response workshopped, over-engineered, using 370 odd words (some incorrectly spelled) and addressing nothing.

First, let’s talk about benchmarking. The bain of a sales teams existence. We hate it when our clients benchmark us. We, including our managers, hate it, we don’t believe it is a fair way to determine the value of our product. So why is it a fair way to determine the value of our people? If a role in outdoor pays 30k more a year than a comparable role in radio, you are benchmarking the wrong companies.

Rewarding performance is a farce and we all know it. It’s subjective, and even when it is a quantifiable number like in sales, you better rest assured outstanding performance is met with higher budgets, amended commission structures, and “development opportunities” that you do for no additional remuneration.

Paying for “experience” does not exist. 15 years of experience in radio alone had a colleague of mine earning 10 – 15k less than a guy who had 3 years… not 12 months ago.

The jig is up, radio habitually underpays talent, under resource teams, and requires long hours with no overtime paid because “it is what it is”, you do it for the love. The problem with that is, that all the lovers are leaving and now you are left with the people who expect to be paid.

    14 May 2022 - 8:46 am

    For clarity: the two networks quoted did not take 65 days to respond. Their response was timely to our request. We waited quite a while longer before publishing to give the other networks a chance to also comment.

John D
13 May 2022 - 11:41 am

Can we get Bill Caralis to submit a response (insert crickets) lol

13 May 2022 - 2:50 pm

Flexible working isn’t a reward, it’s a standard… Learning and development is what companies do to keep their employees, thus saving the business thousands of dollars in recruitment and training. Again, it shouldn’t form part of a package.

    14 May 2022 - 8:51 am

    This comment has been edited.

13 May 2022 - 3:56 pm

Love to know what these supposed non-financial elements are. Free PR company doughnuts?

13 May 2022 - 5:05 pm

… I was working in regional commercial radio a few years back and wasn’t earning much … an opportunity came up at the ABC in the same market so I jumped ship and (with super) just about doubled what I was getting …

14 May 2022 - 9:04 am

As long as Nova ownership structure is as it is, there won’t be any value or respect given to its staff

66 days standing corrected
14 May 2022 - 12:42 pm

@editor, good to hear the response rate is picking up, it usually took 2 – 5 financial years to get a response on a pay rise request.

Col Clifford
14 May 2022 - 10:09 pm

I started on $25 an hour and never got a pay rise. No holiday pAy, no penalties, no public holiday penalty or time in lieu.

    16 May 2022 - 7:27 am

    This comment has been edited.

Looking in from Outside
14 May 2022 - 10:50 pm

If radio wages are appropriate, this story wouldn’t exist.

15 May 2022 - 12:09 pm

65 days makes excellent points. Let’s be clear though, stations pay what they have to pay and more only when they feel like it. Announcers and Audio Producers have specific skills and should be paid as such. My favourite comment from a Manager recently… we are all the same, no one is more important. Really? Then why do sale’s get so much?. Where is our commission…we make the product you sell!

65 days
16 May 2022 - 9:12 am

@really, I couldn’t agree with you more on non sales staff.

Not just announcers, but traffic, promotions, hell even finance… sales is only as good as the product, we are codependent, without sales there is no money but without everyone else there is nothing to sell.

Might I just point out, while this conversation unfolds CRA pushed out about “look at us our ad revenue is up 8.8% press release today.”

16 May 2022 - 2:28 pm

… agree with the comment about sales … a while back I was speaking to the manager of a regional station duo and in answer to a question he made an interesting comment about not knowing much about what goes on “down the back” … he was referring to the on-air studios … I remember when, in the old building, the studio was up front, had a view to the outside world and the on-air jock could be seen by passers-by … now they’re relegated to “the back” without even a window … just shows the attitude …


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