The results from my 2021 survey took me by surprise in many ways.
The object was to find out the state of the industry and uncover what (if any) extra duties that Copywriters in other radio stations around the world may also do – I have to admit that I did not expect the answers I got at all.
Below is a breakdown of the data collected from 221 participants in the survey – NOTE: there is a link at the bottom for those interested in the full final report.
[Media release from July 14th 2021]:
From assorted duties, including sales calls, on-air shifts and production, Copywriters do do more than you might think – in our industry today.
Our recent online survey conducted online over June 2021 gave a small insight into the radio industry and specifically a Copywriters role within it, all around the world.
WHAT RADIO COPYWRITERS DO:
Of the 221 respondents, 83 (or 38%) said that they ‘only write copy’, and a startling 31% (69) also do Production and/or Sales 31% (69) as part of their regular ‘other duties’.
From the data received, most stations who responded have either 1 or 2 copywriters on staff, with 25% of respondents having 4 copywriters on staff.
All Copywriters also go on sales calls of one type or another, either with the sales rep, or by themselves (we have interpreted this to mean that they could also be working as sales reps and also writing their own copy).
69% said that they regularly attend calls, with only 31% saying that they occasionally go on sales calls.
50% of people responding, when asked about using freelancers. said that they did not use them, 19% saying yes they used them all of the time, and 31% saying they only used freelancers occassionally.
As far as employment growth in the industry, only 6% of all responders said they they were looking to hire another copywriter in the next 12 months.
TRAINING & QUALIFICATIONS
When asked about training, only 38% said that they received regular in-house training, and of those, 57% said that the company they worked for, paid for that training. That then left 30% of training paid for by Copywriters themselves, and 13% receiving no training at all.
While the majority of copywriters in the survey group held no formal qualifications, there were some who had done university and specialist radio school training. This part of the survey allowed for multiple selections, so some responders appeared to select university and specialist school, and no training and specialist school.
When asked about Senior Copywriters, 69% of the survey group had a Senior Copywriter on staff.
COVID-19 & RADIO COPYWRITERS
69% of respondents had the same number of Copywriters on staff that they had before the pandemic began, 25% had more, and 6% had fewer copywriters on staff.
44% of the survey group said that they were writing the same amount of commercial scripts as they were pre-covid, 31% said more scripts, and 25% said less.
RADIO COPYWRITERS & AWARDS
Annual recognition through awards in the radio industry is a cornerstone of many workplaces, and this was reflected in the results of the survey.
44% of the group said that they regularly submit to industry awards around the world.
38% however did not, and 19% said they only do so occasionally.
Many seek support and feedback from peers and friends through groups on Facebook, Linked-In and other websites.
MAGAZINES & PUBLICATIONS
This question allowed for multiple answers to be selected.
It showed that Radio Ink was by far the most popular magazine read by Copywriters with 137 responses, closely followed by AdWeek with 119 and Radio and Production Magazine with 83. Then there started a big drop off for other industry and writing magazines.
It turns out that many Copywriters are doing double duty, or even multiple roles in stations throughout the world.
Most stations have at least 1 Copywriter, and all copywriters go out on sales calls at one time or another as a part of their daily duties.
Freelancer use by radio stations was high, with 19% saying they used them full time, and 31% using them occassionally.
While some in-house training of Copywriters does occur – there was a large percentage who said that they paid for their up-skilling and training out of their own pockets.
With only 63% of Copywriters from radio stations either contributing their work regularly or occasionally to industry awards, it might suggest that the competition with agencies makes it hard to gain any recognition.
And, anecdotally… publications that are read by Copywriters, that make direct reference to Copywriters, only gave 1 or the occasional second article per issue about writing ads.
View the full data group and final report – HERE – names have been removed and some comments – note that some data corruption occurred on questions 15 & 16.
As I said from the start, I was shocked as I thought that there would be more full time Copywriters in radio stations, and that there would be more in-house training, and freelancer use would be a lot lower – but that was my own personal bias.
The results showed also that Copywriters payed for much of their training and up-skilling themselves. This did not shock me as I myself fall into this category.
Do you agree with the findings? Would you like to know more? I plan to put up here the full pdf of results in the future – and of course run another survey this year to discover any changes that may have occurred.
Comment below and stay tuned for more!