Please arrive at least 15 minutes earlier than your show!
As a host, you only need to look at your camera twice:
A) Look directly at your camera at the very beginning of the program, when introducing viewers to yourself, the program, and to your guest.
B) Look directly at your camera at the very end, when you are concluding your program for the viewers.
(For these talk shows, your guest does not need to look at their camera, or any of the cameras, at any time in the program. The host should only look at the camera at the aforementioned times — not at any time “during” the interview).
IMPORTANT: These programs are for public access community television, and as such, are not commercials for products or services. These programs are intended to be educational and/or entertaining for the viewers. Nothing can be offered for sale and no business can be promoted. However, viewers may be directed to a phone number or website “for more information” at the end of the show: This would not be for the purpose of purchasing anything, it would simply be offering information that is supplemental to the topic of the show. If the host allows the guest to be commercially promotional, the show will not be broadcast on TV or published on OurVentura.com. (Restrictions are less stringent for non-profit organizations).
Keep in mind that the host is in charge of the interview, but the guest is the star. In other words, most of the talking will be from the guest. The host questions should be simply stated, easy to understand and of a nature that can be answered by the guest. On the other hand, do not let the guest go on and on and on in response to a question. The show is more interesting to viewers if there is a lively back and forth discussion, with the host asking succinct questions and the guest responding in an informal and educational manner. In other words, a host may need to occasionally and courteously interrupt a guest who is answering a question for too long.
This is a conversational interview, with the emphasis on “interview,” which means there should not be an equal amount of communication between the guest and host (like in an off-camera conversation). Most of the conversation will come from the guest, but the host’s personality should shine through, without dominating the interview.
The following guidelines are outlined for the benefit of viewers.
- Overarching principle: The host is an advocate for the viewer. (Not the guest).
- Presenting yourself as an advocate for the guest(s) will result in reduced viewer credibility.
- The host should maintain a neutral, unbiased perspective re each topic and guest. The show is intended to inform the public via the guest, not via agreement or support from the host. For example, some viewers will find reason to disagree with the guest. That’s fine. But if the host remains impartial, few viewers should find cause to consider the host or Our Ventura TV as biased.
- The host is in charge of the interview and is responsible for its outcome.
- All programs aired on Ventura cable channel 6 TV must be noncommercial.
- Ensure your guests understand this is noncommercial media and that if the intent or spirit of community TV is violated, the interview can not be used.
- Consult with your guest prior to the show to ensure you have the correct pronunciation of your guest’s name, and if applicable, the correct pronunciation of your guest’s organization.
- The purpose of each Our Ventura TV segment is to educate the audience about one specific topic (and/or entertain the audience, for example, as a musician or singer).
- The host is welcome to generally discuss the interview with the guest before the recording. However, avoid scripting the interview, which can make the discussion appear artificial and unnatural.
- Introduce the guest briefly and get to the topic immediately. In many cases all that’s needed for the introduction is the name and title of the guest. If the guest’s title does not establish expertise, ask the guest for a brief statement re their qualifications to speak on the topic.
- Discuss the specific topic, not the guest.
- Get to the topic right away. For every second that you are not delivering value to the viewers you are losing viewers (on TV and online).
- Excel at sincere and engaged listening.
- As a host, avoid over-speaking. The guest is the expert and “star” of the interview. Get as much valuable information from the guest as possible for the viewers in the allotted time.
- When you ask a question, get it answered. If the guest goes down a different discussion path, bring them back to the question. (Don’t leave the viewers hanging with an unanswered question).
- Ask one question at a time. (Not multiple questions at once).
- Avoid discussing unrelated subjects. Keep the focus on the specific topic.
- Ask brief questions that draw out the guest’s expertise in a way that will benefit the viewers.
- If the guest uses specialized or technical terms, follow up with questions which ask the guest to define such terms for the benefit of the viewers.
- Avoid asking questions that may result in commercial answers or violate the spirit of community media.
- When interviewing a nonprofit, or anyone who may have sponsors, please ask them (prior to the show) not to mention specific sponsors or commercial entities, as that can result in the show not being used.
- Frame your questions to facilitate an evergreen discussion.
- The host may have notes for reference. However, the host should avoid reading from their notes.
- Avoid asking questions the guest has already answered (particularly when using notes).
- Generally speaking, the guest would ‘not’ have notes, since the guest is speaking as an expert. However, if the guest wishes to refer to a document for specific facts and figures, that is fine, as long as it does not distract viewers from the topic and discussion.
- When interviewing authors, the host shows the book to the viewers as part of the introduction.
- When interviewing authors, focus the discussion on a topic related to the book, not necessarily the book itself. If the discussion comes across like a commercial for the book, we can’t use the show.
- If you run out of questions, end the show. Do not try to fill the time with trivial discussion, which will result in a lowered impact of the segment.
- End the show in a timely fashion: ending earlier is better than later.
- The main host purpose is to provide exceptional value to the online and television viewers.
In conclusion, your role is to be a congenial host and to ensure a noncommercial, educational and/or entertaining experience for the viewers. Above all, you need to ask concise questions that bring out information that is interesting and valuable to the viewers.
For more information, please review the Our Ventura TV Frequently Asked Questions.
Suggested Host Opening and Closing Patter
“Hello, my name is [host name] and I’m your host for today’s episode of Our Ventura TV, and I’ll be speaking with [guest name and title] about [topic].”
Conduct talk show interview and keep an eye on the timer as it counts down to zero, which is when you’ll want to end the show.
When the timer counts down to about 1-2 minutes or so remaining, you’ll want to let your guest know that the show is about over. Use whatever words are comfortable to you, but one suggestion could be:
“[Guest], we are about out of time, is there a way viewers might be able to contact you for more information?”
(Guest might present a physical address, a website address, a phone number, etc.).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Ideally, you will end the show at the instant the timer counts down to zero. From a practical standpoint, that can take some experience and it’s not a vital requisite for Our Ventura TV. Hence, do not overly concern yourself with the counter. Do your best to end on time and keep in mind that it’s better to end early than late. IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO CLOSE THE SHOW WITH PROFESSIONAL APLOMB THAN TO EXHIBIT UNDUE CONCERN ABOUT THE COUNTER.
“That’s all the time we have left for today’s show. I’d like to thank [guest] for speaking with us. My name is [host name] and until we get together again, thanks for watching Our Ventura TV!”
Again, you should use whatever words you are comfortable with, the preceding are simply suggestions.