Name: Kyle Wightman
Occupation: On-air announcer/producer
Place of Residence: Prince George, BC
Employer: The Wolf 97 FM for Prince George Vista Broadcasting
What's the job, man?
Three days a week, Wightman is an “on air” personality for Wolf 97 FM, playing “modern country and the best Southern rock” out of Prince George. In addition, Wightman is a standout at his station for pre-producing scripts by adding effects. These scripts are used to voiceover cues to call for contests, community event announcements, station promos and other elements of “imaging” for the station. His exceptional skills have recently earned him a promotion in that area. Wightman assists with the imaging for three other stations within the Vista Broadcasting network in Quesnel, Williams Lake and Vanderhoof. He also spends two hours each shift doing production: voicing commercials and promos for the station's clients. In between, he does some online and in-the-field research to decide what he will tell his listeners.
A little bit of life experience helped Wightman get his first break. “Since high school I always wanted to be working on the radio,” says Wightman. “When I applied to [the British Columbia Institute of Technology] for their radio broadcasting program, they had said one of the reasons for me getting accepted—which is tough to do—was that I had gone traveling for six months.” After finishing school, Wightman was known as the Wolf 97 FM's van driver. He landed his first full-time job as a radio DJ in Prince George after manning the station's community cruiser for two years.
Something to keep in mind...
An open mind can be a useful tool in an industry as vast as broadcasting. “Most people who work [at Wolf 97 FM] actually saw themselves doing something different then what they are,” says Wightman. “I originally wanted to be a sports broadcaster. That changed a long time ago, but I never thought I would be doing all the producing and imaging that I do now.” Down the road, Wightman says it is possible that he may become a full-time producer.
Personality also goes a long way in this industry. "The voice doesn’t matter, " says Wightman. "Nobody wants just big pipes, it's all about personality. I sound like I am 18! Over the top personality is what is going to get you places in this field."
Why you want this job:
“There are obviously heaps of perks!” says Wightman. “Free golf, hockey games, movies, beer, concerts, no line-ups at the bars are all a part of it. And I have had the opportunity to meet some great people and celebrities and party with them. But being able to be a part of the community and be looked up to is probably the most rewarding.” When Wightman chronicled his attempt to quit smoking on air, listeners called in with their support. Some even joined him in trying to quit.
Why you might not want this job:
Rookies may have to make a big move to get started. Being able to adapt to small town living is useful. Most of the entry-level jobs are available in smaller markets where the pay is not always great. Also, it doesn't hurt to be interested in a broad range of music.
Do you gotta like what you play?
Wightman likes country music more now than when he first started working at Wolf 97 FM. He has earned a reputation as a bit of a “log hacker.” Wightman usually breaks up the song lists passed down to him from the station's music director with a few of his own selections.
Talk the talk:
"Imaging" is a general term for promos produced by radio stations, used to clearly position the station within the marketing place. This defines the station as recognizable product to its listeners.
Median salary for radio news announcer: $25,000; Range for smallest to largest markets: $7,100 to $102,676 (US dollar figures from Excite.com).