Following the Eyeballs

Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.

Job retention in the broadcast business appears to be a weather-related phenomenon. The latest job ratings published in The Wall Street Journal lists meteorologist at No. 6 among the best gigs to have in 2011, up from No. 12 for 2010. The mid-level income for weather forecasting: 85 grand. Sweet.

Meteorologist followed software engineer, mathematician, actuary, statistician and computer analyst. Then waaay down after dental hygienist, philosopher, school principal, “typist,” teacher’s aide and sewage plant operator, we have broadcast technician at No. 99. That’s right! You, too, can strive to get iced in on Mt. Wilson or trapped by flood waters in New Orleans for a mid-level income of $33,272 a year! Broadcast technician—which includes engineering operations of all sorts—was at No. 44 last year.

Ouch. Do we detect some skepticism about the future of broadcasting... from broadcasters?

Scrolling down past vending machine repairer, stockbroker, piano tuner and commercial airline pilot, we have newscaster at No. 128. Newscasters supposedly make $50,456 at mid-level, but one gets the feeling that three people in New York City are skewing that a bit on the high side. Newscaster was No. 95 last year.

Such people are being replaced by avatars from the likes of, where “So You Want to Be in Television News,” pulled in 1 million views within three weeks. The video is a satirical jibe at the TV news business.

“I have a lot of student loans,” a recent college grad tells a station manager. “Do you think $65,000 a year is too much to ask for my first contract?” “I think you may have a learning disability,” he replies.

We won’t even begin to discuss where print journalism jobs landed. Let’s just say it’s partly cloudy in Southern California with a 20 percent chance of me sobbing like a child.