What does a TV presenter do?
A television presenter, also known as a TV personality or television host, is an on-camera professional who hosts television shows providing commentary on a specific topic. A TV presenter can specialise in a specific topic such as sports, news or entertainment.
A TV presenter’s responsibilities will vary depending on the specific type of television show they work for, the size of the channel, the type of audience they serve and their level of experience. Common responsibilities of a television presenter include:
- Collaborating with the production team: Similar to other entertainment industry professionals, TV presenters meet with and collaborate with other crew members, such as producers, directors, camera operators and script writers to ensure things run smoothly on set.
- Rehearsing and presenting: TV presenters usually broadcast shows live, so there is extra pressure to ensure there are no errors. Rehearsals before the show ensures that all the equipment is working and that the television presenter can easily use their resources, such as a teleprompter, and know exactly what they have to do within their role.
- Dispensing information: Television presenters need to clearly and concisely convey information to an audience, whether it be expressing their point of view on a debate show or presenting new information about a specific topic on the news. They also commonly conduct interviews with a variety of guests, from experts to celebrities.
- Fact-checking: The role of a television presenter includes undertaking relevant research on a specific topic and fact-checking the details of a story before they present it to the audience. The purpose of this is to ensure they are presenting authentic and true information.
Skills needed to become a TV presenter
The role of a television presenter can be quite demanding, so it is important to have the right set of skills necessary to succeed in the role. These skills include:
- Flexibility: Television presenters need to be prepared to work flexible and irregular hours. Depending on the type of show being produced, filming may occur early in the morning, such as filming morning shows, or late in the evening, such as filming night time talk shows.
- Confidence: The work of a television presenter involves speaking and conveying information to a camera. To be a successful presenter, it is essential that you have confidence and remain composed while presenting news or sharing your opinion on a topic.
- Teamwork: Although the television presenter is the main character when you watch their show, it takes a full team to successfully bring the show together. TV presenters need to liaise with news sources, directors, producers and other behind the scenes staff to develop and deliver a TV programme.
- Communication: The main role of a television presenter is to communicate information to the television audience. This requires excellent verbal skills to ensure the audience can hear and understand the information. They also need to have active listening skills to comprehend what the producers are asking them to do and to ensure they can engage with their guests and maintain a good flow of conversation in a guest interview.
- Interview skills: One of the primary roles of a TV presenter is to interview their guests. It is important that you have excellent interview skills to ensure you ask meaningful and relevant questions. If you are a news presenter, you will be interviewing a wide variety of people such as an eyewitness or expert when covering a news story. Good interviewing skills ensure that the conversation flows smoothly and that questions are asked that people are interested in hearing the answer.
“I think it’s super important that your work is challenging. As soon as you start getting comfortable things get boring and I think that’s when you need to change things up and try something new. Luckily in my job there’s plenty of opportunity to do that which is why I find it so interesting.” – Laura Whitmore (1)
Qualifications required to become a TV presenter
As a media personality, it is important to have a bachelor’s degree in a media-focused specialism, such as journalism, media, communication studies, performing arts, music technology or English. It is also crucial that you complete an accredited course in a relevant field, such as in public speaking, creative writing or debating to enhance your skills in television presenting.
Steps to become a TV presenter
Earn a bachelor’s degree
An educational background is one of the most important qualifiers in the recruitment process of any media personality. A bachelor’s degree in a media related field is paramount to enter into a television career. Preferable degrees include journalism, media studies, communication studies, performing arts, music technology and English. If news reporting is of interest to you, consider studying journalism first to give you an advantage in the recruitment process.
Get relevant experience
In the television industry, most employers require you to have experience as well as academic qualifications. This is to prove to the employer that you can successfully apply your learnings effectively. Many broadcasters offer both paid and unpaid internships to give prospective tv presenters a taste of what the career is like. Or you can consider volunteering for your local radio station or newspaper to prove to employers that you have the practical skills to support your education.
Prepare your CV and apply for an entry-level position
Once you have got the relevant experience and skills, you can apply this to your CV to send to employers. This gives your potential employer an impression of who you are. It is essential that you use relevant and up to date information and experience to convey why you are suitable for the role.
Join professional associations
It is important to join professional associations to connect with similar people in the industry. Being an active member of a professional association exposes you to many people in your industry, giving you a chance to network and learn from the best people in the field. These bodies often hold conferences and events to network with like minded people.
Some of the professional associations you can join are:
Salary of a TV presenter
The average salary of a television presenter in the UK(1) is £35,608. However this can vary depending on what experience you have and what television broadcast employer you have.
What career progression opportunities are there in television presenting?
There are many career progression opportunities in the television industry. You could move from smaller, regional TV productions to national and international television productions. With an established television career, you may also have the opportunity to move into other media work like radio, acting or writing for newspapers and magazines.
- Actor or actress
- Sports journalism
- Radio presenter