How to Choose the Right On-Air Talent for Your Program

Apr 30, 2020

Choosing the right on-air talent for your program is a big decision.

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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.on-air talent

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.

No Skeletons

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.

If you need of some help finding the right talent for your program, our creative services team can help. Contact us at any time to get started.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!