Choosing the right on-air talent for your program is a big decision.
They’ll be the face for your content, and by extension, your brand or network.
Like booking any crew member – or hiring any employee – it’s a decision that requires careful attention and proper vetting.
Here are some of the top considerations for choosing on-air talent for your program.
Think of Your Core Audience
Before starting your search for on-air talent, think about your audience. This may seem counter-intuitive, but they’re ultimately the ones consuming your content.
You want on-air talent that your target audience will relate to. Someone that tracks well with your target demographic and someone that your viewers find likable.
It will be difficult to retain consistent viewership if your core audience finds your on-air talent to be unlikeable, uncredible, or unrelatable.
Existing User Base
If your on-air talent has an existing base of followers, then that will only benefit your program. While this shouldn’t be a requirement for hiring on-air talent, it’s certainly an added bonus.
If your talent has a loyal base of followers or fans, you’re starting your program with at least some interest instead of having to start from zero.
Make Sure They’re Knowledgeable & Credible
Perhaps the biggest factor when hiring on-air talent is their knowledge and credibility.
This is especially important if you’re producing news or financial-based programming, but can also apply to entertainment and sports programming.
Your on-air talent needs to know the subject matter in and out. It will be hard to retain viewership if the face of your program is giving wrong information or misleading information.
A lot of times, this comes down to having strong writers and researchers, but your talent needs to know the material as well. Fake-it-til-you-make-it does not last long with on-air talent.
You also need to consider your talent’s credibility. Are they seen as an authority on your show’s topic? Will your target audience value their input? And believe what they’re talking about?
If your talent isn’t seen as credible, it’ll be hard to keep people tuning in.
Understands Your Format
Make sure your talent knows your show format.
If your program relies heavily on interviews, you’ll want someone with strong interviewing skills. If your program is trivia-based, you’ll want someone knowledgeable on the topics you’ll be discussing on your show.
That’s not to say that good talent can’t learn a new program or a new format. But having existing experience with a similar format will allow everyone to feel more comfortable, which will translate to a more relaxed experience for your host and guests.
Make sure you properly vet your on-air talent. In today’s hyper-connected culture, it doesn’t take long for someone to dig up dirt.
Make sure nothing is floating out there that could negatively impact your program, network, or talent. The last thing you want is for an excuse for people not to tune in.
Don’t rush into hiring your on-air talent. It’s a decision that requires a lot of thought and consideration. Take your time and do your research.