TV Presenter

    If you are wondering how to become a TV presenter, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of the television and media industry, as well as job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Presenters are the public face of television. They entertain and inform programme audiences on national and regional television, and satellite and cable channels.
    As a TV presenter you could work on all kinds of live or recorded programmes, including:

    news and current affairs
    music shows
    chat shows
    children’s entertainment
    game shows
    specialist programmes such as travel, gardening, history and DIY.
    What you actually do will depend on the type of show you present. For most types of programme you would act as the host, introduce and interview guests and interact with the audience.

    During live broadcasts and recordings you would follow detailed instructions from the production team in order to keep everything to plan whilst on air. You would need to react quickly and positively to any problems or changes. Many presenters are also involved in planning, researching and writing their own scripts before filming or broadcast.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good television presenters include:

    an outgoing and confident personality
    excellent communication and presentation skills
    a flexible approach
    the ability to ‘think on your feet’ and ad-lib when necessary
    research and interviewing skills
    calmness under pressure and the ability to work to strict deadlines
    multi-tasking ability
    a good memory, for recalling facts, figures and scripts
    the ability to work well as part of a team.

    How to become a TV presenter
    There is no set route to becoming a TV presenter. Some start out as journalists or researchers, while others have been actors, models, musicians or DJs. Some presenters have a background in the type of programme they present, such as sport, medicine, property developing or history.

    For most types of programme, the right look, personality and skills are more important than qualifications, although you would normally need to be a trained journalist to present news or current affairs. Success also often depends on determination, persistence, contacts, and luck.

    You should try to get as much experience as possible, to develop an understanding of the production process and to build a network of contacts in the industry. You can do this through:

    community or student radio or TV – see the Community Media Association website for a list of local stations
    paid or unpaid work experience in radio or TV – you can find placements through BBC Recruitment, or by contacting broadcasters and production companies ‘cold’ to ask for opportunities.
    Drama school or acting lessons can be useful for learning presenting skills. Some colleges and private training providers also run short courses in TV presenting, but they can be expensive so research them carefully.

    You should ideally make a three-minute showreel tape or DVD that shows how you come across on camera. You will usually need a showreel to sell your skills when applying for presenting jobs. You can also sometimes get your foot in the door by sending your showreel to broadcasters, producers and agents.

    Another way into presenting can be to enter competitions run by broadcasters, such as BBC Talent – check broadcasters’ websites for details.

    Training and Development
    You will usually develop your presenting skills on the job. You may also get some formal training at the start of your career, in skills like using an autocue or interviewing techniques.

    See Skillset’s website for a database of media courses, including short courses for new and experienced TV presenters.

    Contact Skillset Careers for practical advice on developing your career, including information on training, networking and marketing yourself effectively.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Most presenters are paid a fee for each contract. There may be gaps between contracts.

    Freelance rates can vary widely. You could negotiate fees based on the type of production and your experience and track record, or you may be paid according to Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) guidelines.

    Job Prospects
    You could be employed as a TV presenter by television production companies, national or regional broadcasters, or local cable stations. Most presenting jobs are freelance contracts ranging from one day to several weeks or months. Competition for work is extremely strong.

    Over half of the TV workforce is employed in London. The rest of industry is mainly based in the south-east and north-west of England, and major regional cities in the UK.

    Jobs and auditions may be advertised in The Stage, on broadcasters’ websites, and broadcasting industry recruitment websites. You may also find work through showbusiness agents, or through word of mouth and networking.

    As a successful and established TV presenter, you might present more than one show and you could branch out into radio work, acting, or writing articles for newspapers and magazines. With experience, you could also choose to move into producing or directing.

    Useful media industry resources:
    Broadcast Journalism Training Council
    18 Miller’s Close
    near Bourne
    PE10 0TH
    Tel: 01778 440025

    Recent Articles


    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox