How Much Do Local News Anchors Make – State-by-State Comparison

In broadcasting, the role of a local news anchor stands as an example of professionalism and public engagement.

These individuals, familiar faces in our living rooms, bring us the day’s events with poise and precision.

But a question often arises in the minds of the audience: “How much do they actually earn?”

In this post, I will discuss the aspects of a news anchor’s salary, what influences their earnings, and provide some deeper insights regarding their finances.

The Salary Spectrum

News anchors’ salaries are not uniform as they are influenced by various factors, with experience and location being paramount.

  • Experience: Like climbing a ladder, each rung represents a step up in potential earnings. Beginners in the field typically earn less, but as they gather experience and recognition, their salary scales up correspondingly.
  • Location: The geographical area plays a crucial role. In areas with larger populations and more significant broadcast markets, such as New York or Los Angeles, salaries tend to be higher. Conversely, smaller markets like Mississippi offer lower compensation.

Average Salaries Nationwide

How Much Does News Anchor Earn in USA

According to recent data, the average salary for broadcasters, including news anchors, is $57,966 per year. However, this is just an average.

News anchors in Washington, D.C., enjoy the highest average salary of $97,632 per year, while those in Mississippi are at the lower end of the spectrum, earning an average of $28,231 annually.

State-by-State Comparison

To further understand this disparity, I created a table that illustrates the average salaries in different states:

State Average Salary (per year)
Alabama $41,440
Alaska $50,158
Arizona $67,395
Arkansas $50,095
California $54,037
Colorado $38,191
Connecticut $35,679
Delaware $48,850
District of Columbia $72,020
Florida $58,604
Georgia $53,861
Hawaii $48,486
Idaho $37,746
Illinois $43,937
Indiana $40,036
Iowa $36,817
Kansas $48,507
Kentucky $73,544
Louisiana $33,166
Maine $48,112
Maryland $54,198
Massachusetts $50,718
Michigan $30,325
Minnesota $37,208
Mississippi $28,231
Missouri $39,389
Montana $26,619
Nebraska $35,524
Nevada $41,694
New Hampshire $39,691
New Jersey $54,005
New Mexico $33,998
New York $68,577
North Carolina $48,594
North Dakota $47,960
Ohio $35,806
Oklahoma $27,667
Oregon $64,004
Pennsylvania $46,982
Rhode Island $49,548
South Carolina $47,231
South Dakota $46,124
Tennessee $38,544
Texas $35,351
Utah $43,523
Vermont $47,257
Virginia $29,385
Washington $97,632
West Virginia $46,234
Wisconsin $57,765
Wyoming $40,005

Why Do News Anchors Earn More Than Reporters?

Do news anchors make more money then news reporters - how much is their salary

  • Visibility and Responsibility: News anchors are the ‘face’ of the news. They are more recognizable to the public and carry a higher responsibility in delivering news accurately and engagingly.
  • Skill Set: Anchors often possess a broader skill set, including public speaking, interpersonal skills, and technical know-how, which justifies their higher pay scale.

What It Takes to Get to the Anchor Desk?

Educational Pathways

As far as education goes, one typically needs a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism, English, or Political Science.

This educational foundation is crucial for understanding the implications of news reporting and delivery.

Gaining Relevant Experience

  • Start Small: Many successful news anchors begin as reporters on local television stations. This initial step is crucial in honing their skills and gaining valuable on-field experience.
  • Building a Portfolio: Aspiring anchors should focus on creating a compelling portfolio, including video clips of their work. This portfolio becomes a key tool in displaying their abilities to potential employers.

What Does a News Anchor’s Day Look Like?

A news anchor’s day goes way beyond just the time spent in front of the camera. It involves:

  • Preparation: Researching and understanding the news stories of the day.
  • Wardrobe and Makeup: Spending time in these departments to ensure a professional on-air appearance.
  • Multiple News Programs: Anchors often report during different programs throughout the day, requiring adaptability and stamina.

The Workplace Environment

News anchors work primarily in television or radio studios. These environments are fast-paced and require anchors to be quick-thinking and responsive to breaking news.

Advancement Opportunities In This Profession

  • Moving to Larger Markets: One common path for advancement is transitioning to larger TV stations in major cities.
  • Transitioning Roles: Some anchors evolve into news directors or news producers, roles that offer more control over the news content and its presentation.

How Does Market Size Impact Salaries?

How Does Market Size Impact the Salaries of Local News Anchors

Imagine the broadcasting industry as an ocean, with large cities like New York and Los Angeles representing deep waters teeming with bigger fish and opportunities.

In these areas, the demand for top-quality news anchors is high, and the competition can be quite brutal. This environment naturally drives up salaries.

On the other hand, smaller markets are similar to ponds, where the opportunities and, consequently, the salaries are more modest.

The Role of Advertising Revenue

  • Higher Revenue, Higher Salaries: In larger markets, television stations often generate more advertising revenue. This higher revenue enables them to offer more lucrative salaries to their news anchors.
  • Viewer Ratings: The higher the ratings of a news program, the more advertisers are willing to pay. Top-rated news anchors who can attract and retain viewers directly contribute to the financial health of their stations.

The Skills That Pay the Bills

A news anchor’s salary is also a reflection of their skill set. Developing a range of abilities is similar to adding tools to a toolbox; the more versatile the tools, the more tasks you can accomplish and the more valuable you become.

  • Public Speaking: The ability to speak clearly, confidently, and persuasively is crucial.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Building relationships with colleagues, interviewees, and the audience is key.
  • Technical Skills: Proficiency with computer systems and new media technologies is increasingly important with all the technology surrounding us.

Career Longevity and Salary Growth

How much do anchors make - Why Do News Anchors Earn More Than Reporters

Just like a fine wine, many news anchors’ salaries improve with age. The road from a rookie reporter to a seasoned anchor is often marked by steady salary increases.

  • Building Reputation: As anchors establish themselves, their reputation grows, making them more valuable to their employers.
  • Negotiating Power: With experience comes the ability to negotiate better contracts and salary terms.


Do news anchor salaries vary significantly between morning and evening broadcasts?

Yes, salaries can vary based on the time slot. Prime time or evening news anchors often receive higher salaries due to larger viewerships and higher advertising revenues during these slots.

Are freelance news anchors paid differently than those on staff?

Freelance news anchors are typically paid on a per-assignment basis, which can vary greatly compared to staff news anchors who receive a fixed salary.

Do news anchors receive additional compensation for special events coverage?

It depends on the contract terms. Some news anchors may receive extra pay for covering special events, particularly if it involves extended hours or travel.

Is there a salary difference between local TV and radio news anchors?

Generally, TV news anchors tend to have higher salaries than radio anchors, reflecting the larger audiences and revenue streams in television.

Can news anchors negotiate profit sharing or bonuses in their contracts?

Yes, experienced news anchors may negotiate bonuses or profit-sharing arrangements, especially if they significantly contribute to the station’s viewership and revenue.

Does bilingualism impact a news anchor’s salary?

Bilingual news anchors, especially in areas with a high demand for multilingual broadcasts, may command higher salaries due to their ability to reach a broader audience.

Final Words

Becoming a local news anchor is a path marked by continuous learning and adaptation.

While the financial rewards can be significant, especially in larger markets and with more experience, the role demands a high level of commitment, skill, and passion for journalism.

As viewers, we see the polished end product of this hard work every day, often not realizing the dedication and effort that goes into each broadcast.

Local news anchors play a vital role in keeping the public informed, and their salaries reflect the importance of their position in our society.

As the media evolves, so too will the role and compensation of these key figures in our daily news consumption.

Iona Maclean

Iona Maclean

With seven years of dedicated experience in journalism, I've sharpened my skills in delivering reports and insightful stories that resonate. My time in the industry has given me a perspective on different topics, from technological advancements to cultural phenomena. What drives me the most is uncovering the truth and bringing you stories that inform, inspire, and connect.