Common Problems When Having Multiple Hosts On Your Show

#4 and #5 will make it the hardest to build a following.

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Multiple hosts can be challenging, even if you’re doing your show with friends or family members. In most cases, problems happen because of those very things. This can lead everyone to fall into the following traps.

Talking over each other.

Your show is firing on all cylinders. The conversation is flowing, everyone is having an awesome time, there are a lot of laughs. Or you’re having a great debate, with everyone anxious to get in their opinion. But is your audience confused? They might be.

What often happens when there is a lot of energy in the room, is that everyone starts talking at the same time.

It can often get to where some of the conversation is being lost, drowned out by multiple voices. You might also start raising your voice in an attempt to be heard, but this will only magnify the problem. It will make your listeners unsure of who is speaking.

It can also affect your editing.

If everyone is on different tracks, you might be able to move things around to reduce the issue, but it ain’t going to be easy. If you’re only recording one track, there’s no fixing this at all.

The answer to this is to slow down.

You can still be excited, but you also need to be patient. Every host needs to learn and practice this. Maybe one of you acts like the traffic cop. Everyone raises their hand if they want to speak, or if you’re on camera, you can use a different gesture, and the traffic cop throws the conversation to the person that’s next.

If someone asks a question, wait for the question to be finished before answering.

You may know where the question is going as it’s being asked, but your listeners may not. It may be a question you were expecting, or had worked out beforehand. Or two of you may be so in sync you know what the other is going to say before they say it.

But STOP, let the question be fully asked, and wait to reply.

If you answer too soon you run the risk of us not understanding. And you might even be wrong about what you are about to be asked. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Let me finish!” in real life, most likely with a partner.

This can also lead to a show where questions constantly have to be repeated. Yeah, I know, fix it in post, but why work so hard?

Avoid using inside jokes.

Sometimes friends or family will use a phrase related to something that the group experienced together in the past. It may be a memory that makes everyone in the group laugh out loud.

But we weren’t there. We don’t understand the meaning or context of what you just said. It confuses us, and makes us feel like an outsider.

Occasionally a show will create a catch phrase, and that’s okay.

Just be sure it’s related to the show. We will eventually figure out the reference if it has something to do with the topic being discussed. We might even join in the laughter after a while when we hear it, but use it sparingly.

The conversation you’re having is not as interesting as you think it is.

Have you ever spent an hour with a friend, then said “Wow, we should have recorded that!” If you had, you might notice how many times you repeated yourself, how many times there were awkward pauses, and most important, you’d be unable to tell when you would appear boring to someone else. So the question is, are you able to judge how it sounds to other people?

This will help. Have an outsider edit or listen to your recording, and ask for feedback.

But choose someone who will tell you the truth. Your parents or spouse would be lousy at this, because they won’t want to make you feel bad, and may point out issues that won’t help you. By the way, feel free to ignore the advice if it doesn’t make sense to you.

Make sure you’re doing the things that listeners seek out in a show, and not making mistakes that will make them tune out.

You need different viewpoints on the show. (I previously wrote about that here)

Not everyone feels the same way about the same topic, and so by having multiple opinions, your audience will find someone on your show to relate to.

I’m not saying you need to have an argument. You can both love James Bond movies, but in No Time To Die, one of you may have hated the ending while another loved it. If all the hosts only share the same viewpoints, you will bore us.

Beware of tension in the room.

It’s easier than you think for disagreements to start. It’s not uncommon for small issues to become big issues after a few shows. Plenty of shows have stopped because the hosts started annoying each other. The history of performing is littered with teams that hated each other until the mic or camera were turned on, then they were suddenly the best of friends. After the show, they went right back to avoiding each other.

This is a tough one to solve. Can you leave your issues at the door?

Do you even want to? Can you work through your issues when you’re off the air or not recording? If you don’t settle things, your listeners WILL sense the tension, even if they don’t understand why they’re uncomfortable.

Does one of you talk more than the others?

If so, is that by design? Has one of you emerged as the ringleader, guiding the others and the show itself? Who does your introductions and your setups? Who voices the sponsorships on your show? Who starts any special features?

If your name is listed as the “star” of the show, and your friends and co-hosts are along for the ride, it makes sense for you to have control. But if you’re all equals, who voices which show features will need to be decided.

When all is said and done, choose a co-host you know you can work with and depend on, someone who will work as hard on the show as you will.

I am a 30-year major market veteran of radio and other media, with over a dozen years hosting morning shows, and another dozen as a journalist. My goal is to share the soft skills needed to be successful in podcasting and broadcasting. If you want to be notified when I post, click here.

You can also support my work by becoming a member here.

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George “Ace” Acevedo

Writer. Voice actor. Noisemaker. Visual Artist. Cleaner of litter boxes.