Master Control Operator

Keep TV show running on schedule or interrupt them for breaking news.
picture of Master Control Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$18,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Master Control Operators do?

Rabid fans of a television show know exactly when it is scheduled to come on. When the appointed time arrives, they’ve popped the popcorn, chilled a beverage, and prepared a comfy place to sit. A Master Control Operator makes sure those devoted people aren’t disappointed. They do that by pushing the buttons that start and stop the show at the proper time.

As a Master Control Operator, you’re given a schedule that details when shows should start and stop. When the proper time arrives, you load the tape or start the live feed, and you fiddle with switches and settings to make sure the signal is sharp and strong. It’s also your responsibility as a Master Control Operator to keep a written record of the steps you take while you work.

Sometimes, the tape or live feed malfunctions and the signal goes dark. When this happens, you spring into action and quickly determine what has gone wrong and what can be done to fix it. Sometimes, you call the Station Manager to report a catastrophic malfunction, and you put up an error screen to notify the viewers.

When the program is running again, you notify the Sales Manager of the time missed. Some clients may need refunds for advertisements that didn’t make it on the air.

The station you work for may provide copies of its shows to other outlets. Copying these programs helps you fill out your workday, as you watch the television shows and hope no outages occur.


Should I be a Master Control Operator?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Camera Control Operator, Control Room Operator, Master Control Supervisor, Studio Control Operator

    How to become a Master Control Operator

    Most Master Control Operators have a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:x9enha&chl=no+college+%2822%25%29|certificate+%2857%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2812%25%29|master%27s+%287%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,22,57
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