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Host Guide

Host Guide


Hosts with the Most

We run six streaming video shows every weekday and for each show we need a host. Our hosts are unpaid and dedicated volunteers. Our hosts follow the news and events in the community, local, national and global. Our hosts are not shy, they read the newspaper and are not reluctant to contact newsmakers and subject matter experts to come on their show. If you are a host, we value every moment with you. If you know of anyone else you think might qualify as a host, please let us know at jay@thinktechhawaii.com.

Evaluations and feedback

Committing guests

They understand that the show must go on, so they work hard to get the best guests and commit those guests to coming to our studio or joining them by phone on the appointed days. They remind the guests as the show date gets closer. They make it clear that no-shows are the worst thing that can happen and that if a guest has to cancel, he or she should let us know as possible so we can fill his place. If a host cannot find a replacement, he or she should let us know as soon as possible so we can make other arrangements for that broadcast hour.

Selection of guests

We know every show is defined by the quality of the guests, so our hosts are on the lookout for the best guests they can find, guests who are newsmakers and/or subject matter experts, well informed, thoughtful, articulate and able to engage in a provocative and interesting conversation on the air. Check the ThinkTech Broadcast calendar so you can see the guests and subjects other hosts are including so you can minimize or avoid repetition of guests or subjects in the series. We should always collectively be moving on to fresh faces and content. To the extent possible, hosts should select guests that are congenial and cooperative. We prefer not to have guests who are unwilling to cooperate with our studio conventions and production requirements. For helpful advice, you might also refer your guests to our advice for guests page.

Possibilities with Skype

We have the ability to include guests in remote locations by phone and by audio and video Skype, and we encourage our hosts to do that. Don’t be reluctant to call colleagues, officials, experts and newsmakers from around the world and include them in your show. We suggest you Google the news on the topic you have selected for your show and get names and email or Skype addresses or phone numbers so we can contact and include them. This is the way ThinkTech can be global media and raise consciousness beyond the borders of our state.

The tone and tenor of the shows

The guests and conversations should be reasonable and good-natured rather than contentious or shrill. On controversial issues, we do hope to achieve some level of balance. Each guest and subject should be selected in light of who the previous guests and subjects have been, and it is best not to repeat a guest or a subject in close proximity. The show has to keep moving to new and unexplored areas of news and discussion, raising public awareness. This makes our shows and guests more popular and thus more sustainable.

At the core, these are news programs

What keeps viewers coming back is the notion that we can teach them something about what’s going on in Hawaii and in the world around them. This means that the essence of all our shows is news. We therefore suggest the first part of every show be dedicated to what’s new the news, in the subject about to be discussed. Hosts can always research the news in that subject, or discuss the news with their guests, so they can do that.

The Calendar is our way of communicating

If at all possible please enter your show information (names and affiliations of guests, title of episode and a blurb about the show) in the ThinkTech Broadcast Calendar on Google by midnight of  the day before the show. That way our staff will be able to put it into the Program Advisory blast that goes out on the morning of the show. We want to build brand and followers.

To make an entry on the ThinkTech Google Calendar, you need to have a Google account under your email address, then log in and go to calendar.google.com. At the calendar, turn on ThinkTech Broadcasts and you’ll see all the broadcast entries and you can make them yourself. We will give you rights to do that. Please don’t make changes in anyone else’s shows. Remember to save your entry (the save button is in red at the top of the page) under the calendar ThinkTech Broadcasts (see dropbox on the page) or you will lose it.

The Google Calendar entry should include the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the guest(s), the title of the episode and a blurb about what you will be discussing. The best entries also include 3-4 of the questions you’ll be asking.

If you can’t do a show for any reason, please email us and put an entry in the calendar to that effect by midnight of the day before the show so we will all know and have a chance to arrange a replacement show or replay in your time block. We want to avoid a situation where the staff is waiting for a show that isn’t going to happen. If you have problems getting into the calendar, contact us right away.

The early bird does better

Our hosts get to the studio early so they can greet their guests and make them feel comfortable. Our hosts often take the time, in person or by phone, to talk with their guests beforehand, so everyone knows the track of the discussion contemplated. Please do everything you can to get there on time and have your guests get there on time. We like to begin all our shows at the appointed hour so our viewers are not disappointed, and keep coming back.

Talk to your guest before about the track of the show and to settle on a pithy name. Take a moment to explain how things work to alleviate any anxiety. Get there and have your guests arrive by 15 minutes before show time so we can start and finish on time. We’ve changed the break times – one at :15 and the second at :30, then out at :45. Rotate out of the studio at the end of your show so as not to hold anyone up for the next show. When you leave, clean up and make sure you and your guest take everything you brought with you.

Connecting with remote guests

We encourage our hosts to connect with guests in remote locations. The best way to connect with guests in remote locations is by Skype video. We suggest you try a test Skype call with your guest in advance. For the show itself, please pass us the guest’s Skype address and phone and we will connect for the show. When we call, the guest should select “video call” to open the video channel. The guest should be in a well-lit room, the wall behind the guest should be presentable, and there should be a light on the guest’s face. If you or the guest have questions about this, please contact us in advance at jay@thinktechhawaii.com. If Skype is not available we can connect by phone (a landline phone is best) and put a headshot photo of the guest on the screen.

A formula for discussion

In general, we suggest that our hosts consider dividing the discussion into four evolutions: make the guest relevant by connecting the guest with current news, events and areas of interest to the public; drill down on that subject to have the guest explain the areas of expertise to the audience; discuss the barriers and challenges in the area, and what has to be done to overcome those barriers and challenges; and project how this area will develop in the future and how that development will affect Hawaii. This is useful, but only a starting point.

Openings, closings and breaks

Click here for our standard script suggestions for openings, closing and transitions. These suggestions are by no means binding. They are suggestions a host might consider in dealing with the opening and closing of the show and the transition into and back from a break. We hope this gouge is helpful for you and that after a while you won’t need it. If you have any suggestions on how the language might be improved, please let us know.

The Sausage Theory

We also suggest that our hosts learn to listen carefully to the thoughts expressed by the guest in the notion that the best conversation follows the “sausage theory,” where the question begets the answer and the answer begets the next question. The guest is the primary focus of every show, but we also want the host to represent the listener, bring his views into the conversation and otherwise contribute to the discussion. It’s a two-way street.

Retaining control of the show

We hope our guests will always retain control of the conversation by interrupting a long winded answer, either by voice or gesture, and that they will always insist on candor over rhetoric. We also hope that they will always have the next question ready when the guest is done with the last one, as to avoid awkward silences. Running out of gas is not an option.

Staying with the program

Our hosts can pick their own topics, within the general concepts of their shows, and should try to stay within that concept, both in guests and areas of discussion. This is better broadcasting and helps to brand and promote that show and that host. Everybody wins if the show consistently covers a defined area of discussion, and listeners who are interested in that subject will plan to come back.

Multiple re-introductions

The host should identify himself/herself, he name and affiliation of the guest, the name of the show and the title of the episode at the beginning and end of the show, and before and after every break. This is because viewers may come and go and we need to tell them and repeat who we are and what we’re doing every few minutes. The host should also be prepared to give a one or two minute monolog introducing the topic of the episode at the beginning of each show.

Credit where credit is due

The host should always identify the show and episode as “a part of the ThinkTech live stream series” and give credit to the members of the studio and control room staff. Likewise, the host should always welcome the guest at the beginning of the show and thank the guest with an aloha exchange at the end of the show. At the same time, the host should not openly promote or permit the open promotion of commercial ventures or the sale of goods or products during the show, since that is likely to disqualify the show for broadcast on Community Television and lead to the impositions of sanctions for a violation of the rules relating to commercial advertising on Community TV.

Identifying the guests

The important thing is that our hosts enter the names and affiliations of their guests and the title of their shows on our studio calendar, or that they otherwise advisee our Program Advisories Manager about these things at least one day in advance of the show involved. This helps us send email and social media to promote the show, the guest and the subject to enhance viewership. It also helps us prepare lower third video titles in advance, and that makes for a better video. We also encourage our hosts to let their colleagues know about the show. We want to increase viewership in all ways possible.

Photographs and video clips

Yes, you can give us photos and video clips that you want to use in the show, covering the screen or in lieu of the green screen background or in a picture-in-a-picture on the screen. About a dozen files and clips will be right for a 45-minute show; more than that is probably too much. Just make sure the images are high quality and that you and your guest have broadcast rights in any files you give us. You can email them to us, you can send them by hightail.com, you can upload them to Dropbox.com or you can get them to us on a thumb drive. But keep in mind that it takes some time to upload and organize them for the broadcast, so we ask that you get them to us by midnight of the day before the show..

Viewer questions and comments

As a host, you can elect to take viewer questions and comments by Twitter. Our account is @thinktechhi. Our twitter feed is shown on the monitor to the left of the center camera, and our hosts can look at that feed to see twitter questions and comments about the show. We encourage hosts to use this feed and interact with our audience.

Twitter questions and remarks may be better than  calls because calls have to be vetted, because written questions and comments are usually easier to decipher, and because off-the-wall calls can derail the track of your show. (This does not mean that we can’t include viewers in the discussion. If you want to include anyone beyond your studio guests, we can always call them on Skype. All you have to do is give us their Skype addresses or phone numbers and headshot photos.)

So if you want to have people tweet questions and comments on any given show, tell your audience to refer to to @thinktechhi. You can do this before the show (by notifying people you think might be interested) or live on the air going into the breaks. We will also put that address on the screen for viewers to see. When a tweet comes in, you can make it a point of discussion or not. If it’s not in the track of the show, you may want to ignore it. It’s entirely up to you. The possibility will in any event be available to you and offer another way for you to engage viewers and enrich the discussion.

We do have a phone line by which viewers can pose questions to the host.  The number they can call to get on the line with you is (808) 871-2474.

Bringing visitors to the gallery

We have dedicated an area of the studio as a gallery for visitors. Hosts should therefore feel free to invite visitors to come to the show and sit in the gallery.   Hosts should let us know if any visitors will be coming so we can prepare for them. Contact jay@thinktechhawaii.com.

The Book of Life for our guests

There is a green registration book in the studio. We call it the Book of Life because if guests sign the book they get at least 20 years of additional years of happy life, and 25 years if their entries are legible. The book also helps us keep track of who is appearing and when and gives us their contacts, so if everything else fails we can get hold of them again. These things considered, it’s well worth having all our guests sign the book. Please make sure that your guests sign the book. Everyone wins.

A helping hand in the studio

A good host helps his or her guests put on and turn on the studio microphones and earpieces, get water and otherwise makes things comfortable for the guest so the guest will have the best user experience possible. Guests are always seriously invested in the experience of the show, and they tend to remember that experience for many years, so we want to give them the best experience we can in hopes they will talk us up and we can get them back later.

Microphone practice

We have lavaliere mics for four people at the table. They connect to the numbered cables hanging on the wall. Each mic has a steel box and a wired lavaliere. The switch on the box must be turned on. Cable 1 is for the host on the audience left side of the table, followed by 2, 3 and 4 moving to audience right. It’s important to follow this sequence because cable 1 has a special headset connection with the control room. The mics should be clipped to the person’s shirt six inches below the neck, and pointed up. The wire for the mic should be outside the person’s shirt. The mics and covers are more likely to get lost or damaged when you try to run them under the shirt. Please be careful not to step on or break the mics or earbud pieces>

Using the Twitter Monitor

You may notice that we have a Twitter feed monitor in the studio facing the host. You can look at it while you’re hosting and see the tweets and find out what our viewers are thinking. The Floor Manager will be watching it and when a tweet comes in about your show the Floor Manager will point it out so you can respond to it. It’s hard to get people to send tweets. We want to respect and encourage them even if we disagree with them. We don’t want to ignore, misquote or otherwise turn them off. The tweets are our highest priority; they allow interaction with our audience. If it’s a question or comment, please read it on the air word-for-word as soon as you and bring it into the conversation as and when you reasonably can. Make sure to thank the person who tweeted by name for his/her interest in ThinkTech and in your show.

Announce our Twitter address at the beginning of every show (“thinktechHI”) and include the feed in your discussions whenever possible. If we respond to tweets we’ll gain followers. The Twitter feed monitor is a great tool; let’s use it and build audience relationships.

Staying in place during the show

Once you are seated and have put the mic on and the cameras have been framed on your and your guests, it’s important to stay where you are. If you move or stand up the cameras will have to be reframed. If you push your chair back during the show, you are likely to tip or break the hair light which is set behind you. With that in mind, it pays to make your pit stop before you sit down and then to stay seated until the show is over and the floor staff has turned on the house lights and picked up the mics.

Clearing the studio afterward

And a good host doesn’t linger after the show. Most guests would like to continue the discussion, to “come down” after the broadcast, but our staff has to clean up after the show and prepare for the next one, so it’s best that the host help us clear the studio after the show and take the guests and visitors outside for the après-show discussion. On the other hand, it’s best to allow our staff to remove the mics and headsets so we can disconnect them and get all the pieces.

Ownership of content

All rights in the video and audio produced are and remain the property of ThinkTech Hawaii. Hosts will not have any rights in the video or audio or other aspect or element of the content created. ThinkTech will be free to treat, disseminate, distribute, publicize and promote this content in any way it sees fit, including as in the public domain.

Want to try your hand at hosting?

Want to be a host for ThinkTech Hawaii? Write to jay@thinktechhawaii.com and let us know who you are, what you’ve done in the broadcast area, and let us know the concept and name of the show you have in mind. Also tell us the name of the first episode you’d like to do and the first guest you’d like to have. We want to have the best show hosts we can find, and if you think you can help, we urge you to contact us. jay@thinktechhawaii.com.

Want to read for our shows?

Every Saturday we have OC16 hosts read the script from a teleprompter for our weekly OC16 shows. We have a variety of hosts who rotate for these shows. If you’d like to be included, please contact jay@thinktechhawaii.com. We also encourage our hosts to write comments and commentaries about public and community affairs and events. If you’re interesting in writing, and then recording, a video comment or commentary, please contact jay@thinktechhawaii.com.


Don’t do monologues for more than a minute. If you’re going to have guests, then ask them lots of questions and focus on their comments over yours. On the other hand, the conversation should not be completely unstructured. You should plan to cover specific points in the first, second and third part of the show. You want to move down that track and not repeat things. Tell them what you’re going to cover.

Developing Episode Subjects

Every show should be different in terms of subject matter. Please settle on an episode name and blurb which describes the specific topic you’ll be talking about in each separate show. “Update” on some general subject is not nearly specific enough. If you’re going to talk about a subject over the course of multiple shows, fine, but please find a distinct aspect of the subject for each show. I especially like the notion of introducing the audience to new people and organizations, new relationships and specific problems and solutions relating to that subject.

Closing Opportunities for Guests

Try to give the guests an opportunity for a closing statement of maybe a minute, but do that at the very end. You can also ask them to look at a camera and talk to the governor or some other public official, or to the public itself. And of course we need to give them a chance at the outset to tell us who they are, their education, experience and what they do for a living and for the subject.

Show Information

All hosts should post show information the day before the show, including names and affiliations of guests, the title of the episode and a blurb about what you will discuss. Please make the episode name short and interesting and include three questions you will cover with your guests in that blurb. We want to encourage people to watch. If there is nothing in the calendar by the end of the day before your show we will assume that that show will not go on and we’ll cancel it and plan another show or replay for that time. Of course, if you know days or weeks beforehand that you won’t be able to do a given show, please give us a heads up so we’re not caught short at the last minute.