Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a morning talk show host? Maybe you’ve considered it as a career while watching your favorite daily talk show, or perhaps it’s something you’ve only recently become interested in as you learn more about the media and entertainment industry. Whatever has sparked your interest in a career as a talk show host, understanding how complex the job actually is – and the skills it requires – is a great place to start.
Is a Talk Show Host an Entertainer or a Journalist?
It’s difficult to place hosting in a specific category, such as entertainment or journalism, mainly because the career can take shape in so many different ways. There are a wide variety of types of talk show hosts, including those who work on television shows, streaming web episodes, podcasts, broadcast radio, and more. As a talk show host, you may cover topics that range from entertainment and sports to politics and current events. One of the biggest benefits of working as a talk show host is that it is often a highly versatile career path, one that can suit many different passions and interests.
If you’re wondering whether to consider a talk show host a journalist or an entertainer, you may find it more fitting to consider the role a unique combination of both. As a host, you’re there to tell a story (whether that be about the latest movie releases, last week’s big championship game, or recent political elections), but you’re also there to provide an enjoyable experience for your audience. This means you’ll need to balance both roles in a way that makes sense for your specific position and talk show.
How to Become a Talk Show Host
There are many ways to achieve your goal of becoming a talk show host, but nearly all of them share a few elements in common:
- First, you’ll need to earn a degree in a media-focused topic such as radio and tv broadcasting, Hispanic media broadcasting, or film and video production. An excellent education will prepare you with the knowledge and practical skills to excel in the industry, and many companies and networks won’t even consider you without a degree.
- Then, you’ll begin with an entry-level position in the industry, where you’ll establish professional experience, build valuable connections, and learn more about the field. You may work as an equipment operator, scheduler, or production assistant, or in one of many other roles on your way up the professional ladder.
- After building experience and taking on different roles, you’ll ideally be able to advance to your dream position as a talk show host in your desired field.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Talk Show Host?
Becoming a successful talk show host generally requires a mix of personal qualities and learned skills, all of which come together to make you someone an audience enjoys watching or listening to. There are some personality and character traits that come in handy in a talk show host career, including:
- Confidence in yourself and your on-air presence. While it’s completely normal to have some nervousness about your early experiences on-air, good talk show hosts are able to project a genuine sense of confidence that puts both their guests and audience at ease. As the host of a show, you’ll need to be comfortable taking a position of leadership and serving as a guide of sorts to keep the program on track.
- An ability to be flexible and improvise if needed. Most talk show hosts work closely with guests, requiring a certain ability to think on your feet and make adjustments as needed. While many talk shows prepare guests with topics to discuss and questions that will be asked, you should be able to improvise in a natural manner to keep the conversation flowing. Also, because talk show hosts don’t generally stick to a script 100 percent, it’s important to be able to “go with the flow” and keep up without finding yourself derailed by unexpected events or discussions.
- An understanding of your audience and their interests. As a talk show host, your role is to connect with your audience and serve as a middle ground between your viewers/listeners and the specific topic at hand. In order to be successful at this, you must be able to establish a relationship of sorts with the audience, so they know you are a source to be trusted with their time.
In terms of professional skills, or those you can learn through education and experience, you’ll need many different ones to be well-prepared for the industry:
- The ability to work with a teleprompter, in-ear microphone, and other media equipment and programs. If you’re auditioning as a talk show host, you’ll be expected to know your way around the role’s basic equipment, which can include teleprompters, microphones, and other tools. While reading from a teleprompter may seem like a straightforward skill, it actually takes a considerable amount of practice. Hands-on experience through media education and even internships can be a good way to get comfortable with the equipment and be ready for future auditions.
- An understanding of the talk show format and your role. A good talk show, whether it’s a podcast, televised program, or radio broadcast, gives the audience the impression that it’s an easy, natural process. However, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and it’s important to have a clear understanding of all the work and details that go into the final product.
- An education and work experience to get in the door. Usually, most talk show positions require some level of media education and experience. While you may see celebrities that get the job simply because of their name alone, most successful hosts have worked hard to get a degree in broadcasting, journalism, and other related fields as well as seek out professional experience opportunities.
Break into the Industry with an Education from The Media Schools, located in Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, and Miami
If you’re dreaming of a career as a talk show host, you’ll need to have a solid combination of passion, talent, practical skills, and knowledge. Nearly every successful entertainer embodies a certain level of natural ability, but that’s not necessarily enough. An excellent media-focused
education can be the key to standing out in a highly competitive, fast-paced industry. It will set you up for success in an exciting professional journey that leads you to achieve all your career goals.
The Media Schools, located in Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, and Miami, offer a series of programs that are designed to prepare you for a career in media whether you’re interested in working as a morning host, sports broadcaster, producer, or one of the many other roles in the field. Choose from highly-focused educational programs including radio and tv broadcasting, Hispanic media broadcasting, and film and video production, each one combining hands-on experience with high-quality instruction to give you the tools you need to pursue your dreams.
Learn more about how The Media Schools, located in Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, and Miami can be the first step towards a career in media that you’ve always dreamed of by contacting the Media Schools, located in Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, and Miami.