A broadcast presenter is the face or voice of programmes broadcast via television, radio and the internet. You'll work on a variety of platforms including national, regional, satellite and cable television, local and national radio and online.
Your role is to entertain and inform an audience by presenting information or entertainment in an accessible and attractive way. You'll introduce, host (or co-host) a programme, create links between items, introduce and interview guests and interact with the audience. The exact nature of the job may vary according to a programme's subject matter, for example if it covers news, weather, sport, music or lifestyle.
Broadcasters are expected to uphold certain legal standards in their research methods and material.
As a broadcast presenter, you'll need to:
- research topics and background information for items to be featured on the programme
- plan and rehearse shows
- write and sometimes memorise scripts
- liaise with other members of the production and technical teams
- introduce and host programmes
- interview guests in the studio, by telephone or on location
- play music
- read short news, traffic, sport or weather reports
- provide links between programmes
- read from a script or autocue, or improvise
- in radio, 'drive' the desk and operate some of the technical equipment for recording and playback, using computers to cue up and play music and jingles
- keep the programme running to schedule, responding positively and quickly to problems or changes and improvising where necessary
- in television, keep in contact with the director and production team in the studio gallery, via ear-piece link
- meet with the production crew to assess or review a broadcast, and to plan the next one.
Travel: is necessary for journalists and reporters who are working on location.
Working hours: can be irregular and unsociable, including nights and weekends.
Location: Relocation may be necessary for freelancers as contracts are frequently short-term.
Salaries vary enormously, depending on whether you're working full time for a channel/radio statio, or working freelance on an ad-hoc basis. Having experience is a significant help in negotiating an increase in fees. Successful or celebrity presenters earn significantly higher salaries.
You don't need a degree to become a broadcast presenter as employers tend to look more for experience and practical skills. Postgraduate courses are available at a number of institutions across Ireland and Northern Ireland, however gathering as much practical experience as possible in a broadcasting environment is vital.
Trainee schemes can offer a direct path into a broadcasting career.