Television presenters work in a range of programme formats. They act as masters of ceremonies for variety and awards shows, host game shows, interview guests for talk shows, and introduce content and programming. They also at times report the news but are not the same as reporters or newsreaders, positions that require specific journalism training.
Television presenters do not need a specialised degree or certificate. However, individuals interested in this field benefit from studying broadcasting, radio and TV production, as well as journalism at university. Competition is high for TV presenter jobs; formal training often gives candidates an edge over the competition.
The skills required for a TV presenter vary but the most important attribute is personality. Projecting friendliness and confidence along with being comfortable in front of the camera helps a presenter appeal to viewers. In addition to personality, a TV host needs excellent verbal and written skills, a pleasing voice, proper diction and an ability to understand the technical aspects of production.
Television presenters must be quick-thinking and comfortable with improvisation since they read from scripted material and also speak off the cuff. Hosting duties require that on-air personalities are familiar with how a recorded programme works and know how to handle themselves during a live broadcast. TV presenters conduct research for interviews and need professional knowledge of the topics they cover.
TV presenter salaries are hugely variable, depending on the size of the station and the popularity of the programme. As of 2014, TV presenter salaries ranged from £14,000 per year on minority-interest satellite channels and small local TV stations to more than £100,000 for star presenters on the main BBC, Sky and ITV channels.
A slow but steady decline continues to take place in the availability of broadcasting and presenting jobs. With a slow decline in a highly competitive field, practical experience and education give aspiring presenters an advantage when looking for a job. Start out on smaller stations to gain exposure and learn the broadcasting ropes before moving to a higher profile position.