What is the Best Degree To Become a Talk Show Host?

Various approaches are possible for those planning on a career as a television or radio personality, but the best degree to become a talk show host is not always broadcast journalism, which is the traditional starting point. A dramatic increase in the number of broadcast channels and the rise of internet-based shows has expanded opportunities for aspiring talk show hosts. In the pre-internet days, radio or TV hosts were well-entrenched in their positions, and hosting jobs were rarely available for the up-and-coming talk show talent pool. Today’s talk show formats have changed as broadcast channels expanded, creating fresh opportunities for a new breed of hosting talents with different skill sets, according to the BBC.

Broadcast Journalism: The Traditional Approach

Hosting a talk show requires high-level interviewing skills and familiarity with a wide range of topics. You should have the ability to make guests feel comfortable while providing entertainment on some level for viewers or listeners. You should also be aware of ethical and legal restrictions when it comes to live broadcasts. A degree in broadcast journalism or a communications degree with broadcasting as the field of specialization will prepare you with the fundamentals of broadcasting, journalism and communications. Additionally, this four-year degree may have a practicum or internship component that will jump start your networking abilities and full-time job placement.

Subject Matter Mastery

Talk shows have turned into showcases of expert panels. As host of a talk show, you may not be given much latitude when it comes to choosing the theme or topic because show runners take care of that part, but you are expected to be knowledgeable about the chosen topics to manage the discussions and interactions among guests and hosts. As such, today’s talk show hosts may develop expertise in on specific subjects. For instance, there are talk show hosts who focus on politics-related topics only. Programming for these shows is geared toward appealing to a very specific demographic

Your academic background may be an indicator of your expertise. So if you aspire to hosting a Sunday morning talk show, make sure to build your knowledge base, and stay on top of current trends and initiatives. You can earn a degree in political science, economics, sports or virtually any topic. The important part is knowing how to leverage this knowledge to become part of a hosting panel. Talk show hosting jobs require completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree, but a master’s in the same or related field adds gravitas to your expert credentials.

How to Become a Talk Show Host

Talk show hosts may work on TV shows, radio programs, podcasts and other internet channels. With rare exceptions, employers require completion of a four-year degree as a condition of employment. Make the best use of your time in college to network and gain experience through internships, employment or volunteer involvement. Boost your interviewing skills by taking every chance you can to practice. Consider applying to your local station for paid and volunteer positions to build your resume as a strong communicator, empathetic interviewer and entertaining host. In addition, use every opportunity you are given to build relationships with people who are active in the industry.

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There is no single answer when it comes to determining the best degree to become a talk show host. Evaluate your interests, and determine the field that you intend to specialize in. If you want to be on a talk show about politics and government, plan your academic choices along this direction. If you plan on hosting a lifestyle talk show, a degree in communications and self-directed studies on fashion, design or art will help you achieve your goal.