Host And Co-Host Roles For Ensemble Shows


(By Randy Lane) Last week we asked the question: Are you a generator or reactor? Answering that question determines if you are best suited to be a host or co-host. Hosts are natural generators and co-hosts are natural reactors. Let’s take an in-depth look at the skill-set for an effective host and co-host.

The Host Role:

The host fundamentally opens and closes segments, sets up content, moves the show forward, takes care of housekeeping (contact info, liners, etc.), and keeps the show on track. The best hosts set up the co-hosts for commentary, comedy, and stories. Effective hosts get the best out of the co-hosts, callers, and guests.

Skilled hosts share mic time. Hosts who dominate the show diminish dynamics and fail to maximize the contributions of the other players. Captivating conversations are dialogues, not monologues.

Successful hosts help co-hosts, listeners, and guests tell their stories, and move conversations forward. They typically finalize the show plan as well.

Weak hosts:

• Dominate mic time

• Execute mechanical or unclear setups

• Fail to reset

• Don’t call co-hosts by names

• Fill space

• Don’t pause for dramatic effect

• Talk for co-hosts and guests

• Go down side roads

• Create circular conversations.

The Co-Host Role:

Just because you are not mic #1 doesn’t mean your role is less important. Understand your role as co-host, because it’s equally important. — Host: Jason Bailey, Bailey & Southside, Rock 100.5 Atlanta

Co-hosts can be second, third, or fourth mics. Co-hosts can be sidekicks, lightning rods, producers, phone screeners, comedians, or the straight person.

The primary role of the co-host is that of a color commentator. They react with commentary and comedy, ask questions, and tell stories. The Yes, and technique is critical to an engaging co-host. Say yes to the topic and help move the conversation forward.

To be an effective co-host, you must be an active listener, or you can’t help advance the conversation.

Weak co-hosts:

• Derail or shut down conversations

• Don’t ask questions

• Are not curious

• Make most discussions about themselves

• Are not active listeners

• Interrupt others

• Use space filler words and phrases

• Repeat or paraphrase points

• Grab the steering wheel from the driver.

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