Program Directors

Last updated December 31, 2014

Teenagers generally don’t watch the same television shows as Wall Street executives, and most kids don’t listen to the same radio stations as their parents. No one knows this better than program directors, whose job it is to analyze the media market and plan their programs accordingly. By knowing their audiences inside and out, program directors decide which songs to play or which television shows to air -- and when to do it. An MTV reality show does better at 9 p.m. than at 9 a.m., for example.

Program directors choose the content of radio and television shows to meet their audience's needs.

Did You Know?

There’s a good chance you’ll have to do an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door in this highly competitive industry.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Study the market
  • Let the audience be your guide
  • Supervise others
  • Relocate frequently
  • Work under extreme pressure

It Helps To Be...

A true radio or television junkie tuned into popular culture: as a program director, you’ll eat, breathe, and sleep the stuff. If you do your best work under pressure, even better.

Make High School Count

  • Take sociology, where you’ll learn about people’s behavior, needs, and wants -- knowledge that’ll come in handy when you’re a program director.
  • Sign up for computer class. Program directors use audience-analysis software and other software applications to track market trends.
  • Volunteer at a local radio or television station for a close-up view of what program directors do.
  • Get hands-on experience working for your high school radio station or newspaper.