- Personality type:
- Working at the front line of television
- Introducing and hosting programmes, reading the news, interviewing people and reporting on issues and events
Is this role right for me?
To do this role, you will need to:
- have an attractive, strong personality, being naturally outgoing and confident
- enjoy contact with an audience and with people in general
- be able to communicate effectively and have a good understanding of the whole production process
- have excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills
- possess performance skills and a clear voice for broadcasting
- have research and interviewing skills, complemented by an inquisitive nature
- have awareness of media law
- be able to handle stress and make quick decisions under pressure
- have a broad range of interests, including current affairs
- have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures
What does an TV Presenter do?
Presenters work at the front line of television. They introduce and host programmes, read the news, interview people and report on issues and events.
Even though the number of channels and radio stations continues to increase, opportunities to become a Presenter are still few and far between and competition remains fierce.
They may work on a range of programmes or specialise in a particular type, such as current affairs. The calm and relaxed manner of successful presenters makes the job seem easier than it is.
They are usually involved in the careful planning that goes into every programme, including rehearsals and research. They may write their own material and they also need to be able to memorise facts and ad-lib when necessary. They keep the programme running to plan whilst on air, working closely with the production team. This often involves following detailed instructions whilst reading from an autocue and/or script, and responding positively to any problems or changes.
Presenters work across national and regional television and radio, satellite and cable channels, and also in the non-broadcast sector, e.g. training and corporate productions. Most are employed on short contracts and the hours can be long and unsociable. The work may be studio based or on location.
Will I need a qualification?
It is more important for you to have the right skills and experience than a specific qualification in this area. However, many presenters do have higher level qualifications. Any degree subject is relevant, but it is essential for you to develop practical skills in broadcasting and/or journalism as well. Drama school training can be a useful preparation.
If you want to work in a reporter-type role, journalistic training is becoming more and more of a requirement. There is a range of degree level and postgraduate training accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council. The BBC also runs training schemes for broadcast journalists and other broadcasters run short courses.
What’s the best route in?
There are numerous routes you can take to reach this role. You could start out as a journalist or researcher, or as an actor or model. You could side-step from other roles within the industry. You could work up from a local level, gaining practical experience with e.g. student broadcasting, in-store and hospital radio, and local and community broadcasters.
Being in the right place at the right time, with a face and/or voice that fits is what counts. While this is often a matter of luck, determination, hard work, preparation and signing with an agent can also play a significant part.
You need to have an enthusiasm for broadcasting, along with motivation, self-belief, excellent personal presentation and a good voice. Detailed knowledge and experience of a specialist field, such as sport, music, gardening or history, could stand you in good stead.
Where might the role take me?
There are no guarantees of work, or work progression, for Actors.
Interested? Find out more...
- Equity – is the trade union representing artists across the whole spectrum of arts and entertainment, and offers representation, specialist knowledge and advice for its members and student members on work in film, television, radio and other live performance
- Community Media Association - the UK representative body for the community media sector, committed to promoting access to the media for people and communities
- Student Radio Association - representative body which supports and acts on behalf of the UK student radio community
- Hospital Broadcasting Association - the national charity that supports and promotes hospital broadcasting in the UK
- BECTU - the UK media and entertainment trade union with information on pay and conditions, training, and access to individual advice on personal and contract issues
- National Union of Journalism - the trade union for journalists in the UK and Ireland - with information on pay and conditions, training and legal advice
- journalism.co.uk - online journalism site including news and comment, jobs across print, broadcast and new media, a discussion forum, books and industry directory
- journalism.org - US journalism site, Pew Research Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism funded by a charitable trust
- BBC College of Journalism - oversees training for BBC News staff, focusing on best practice in core skills, and providing an overview of specialist areas, legal and ethical issues, as well as a style guide