How to Start Out in the Talk Show Business

Talk shows, whether on the radio, television or the Internet, employ thousands of people in all aspects of production. In addition to the hosts, who are the most visible members of the team, a typical show will usually require a crew of producers, technicians and writers. Those seeking to enter the business can choose a number of different routes of entry, depending on the specific career they seek. However, anyone seeking a talk show career must generally start at the bottom and work his way up.

Talk shows, whether on the radio, television or the Internet, employ thousands of people in all aspects of production. In addition to the hosts, who are the most visible members of the team, a typical show will usually require a crew of producers, technicians and writers. Those seeking to enter the business can choose a number of different routes of entry, depending on the specific career they seek. However, anyone seeking a talk show career must generally start at the bottom and work his way up.

Identify your career. Because the talk show business encompasses a number of different professions, you should identify what exactly you want to do before attempting to get a job. For example, if you're seeking to host a talk show, you're going to need a very different skill set than if you are interested in producing a show or recording it.

Get a degree. Although a full educational degree is not absolutely necessary to get into the talk show business, a number of degrees provide the opportunity to hone relevant skills. For example, if you are seeking to write or host a talk show, a degree in journalism or English may be helpful.

Join student organizations. Most schools have one or more student organizations that you can become a part of to gain valuable experience. If your school has a radio or television station, join it and learn the basics of the business. If you want to work for a comedic talk show, join a school comedy troupe or improv group.

Secure an internship. Internships with radio or television stations are excellent for learning about the business from professionals. Attempt to find talk shows hiring interns. In addition to giving you a better idea of what goes into putting a show on the air, an internship will allow you the opportunity to make important connections.

Seek an entry-level position. After you've gained some education and a bit of professional experience, begin applying for entry-level positions. Aim for a position as close to your desired profession as possible. For technical positions, this may include an apprenticeship with a cameraman or an engineer. Aspiring hosts, on the other hand, should aim for spots as editorial or production assistants.

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About the Author

Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.