1. You can attend a four-year college and get a degree in broadcasting.
2. You can attend a specialty broadcast school designed to arm one with the basic skills required of today's radio broadcasters.
3, You can hang around a radio station by volunteering or possibly by getting an institutional-sponsored internship.
I've seen people enter the business in all these ways, singularly and combined. No matter how you first get your foot in the door, few radio broadcasters find immediate and financially opportune success. It usually takes a little time.
Like TJ Taormina.
TJ began his radio career during his junior year of high school. He became a volunteer at WFDU-FM, the student-run radio station at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. His first job? He was a board operator and was responsible for making sure that the pre-recorded Public Service programs aired as scheduled. Having done that myself early in my career, I can tell you it is far from glamorous. But, WFDU-FM is a great learning ground. It is managed by two veteran broadcasters and the operations usually pulls from a staff of about 40 university students. It's a nice start.
Then, in 2002 TJ was accepted into Farleigh Dickinson University's broadcasting department and a major break came. He applied and was selected for an internship with Elvis Duran at Z100-FM/New York. Z100 (WHTZ-FM) is a top station with a long history of success in that city. Not only was TJ going into a fertile opportunity but he had been a life-long fan of Elvis Duran and the Z100 Morning Show.
TJ's internship was so impressive, he stayed on. As a matter of fact, TJ spent ten years working for the Z100 morning show. During those years he did just about everything they would allow him to do including answering the phones, helping to carry out phone pranks, producing, editing, and much more. His skills improved and over time his talent was honed. Eventually in 2010 he became a co-host on the show.
It's really a great story and it demonstrates quite clearly that big things can come from small beginnings. Having an opportunity to work at any radio station would be beneficial for someone starting out. TJ was especially lucky to begin at Z100.
But, it gets better because anyone with drive is certainly not going to be satisfied with just being a co-host. It was announced this week at TJ Taormina will be the new morning show host at 103.3 AMP Radio (WODS-FM) in Boston. He begins in April and will do his own morning show from 5:30 - 9:00 a.m. on weekdays.