A-Z Of TV & Radio Terminology

TV Presenter Training

When you're starting out in the Industry as a TV Presenter or Radio Presenter, there’s a lot of technical terminology so it's important to know what these production terms or an acronym means. So here's our A-Z of TV & Radio Terminology jargon buster. As the TV industry is fast-moving we're be updating this regularly.

Action: This is the talent's cue to start.

Anchor: Studio based presenter who presents the news.

Ad-Lib: This is when you have to speak or perform without previously preparing one's words.

This might happen when another presenter fails to start on cue, the normal progress of the programme is disturbed or lines are forgotten. Ad-Lib happens on Shopping TV.

Agent: A person or a company who represent TV Presenters, actors or performers, they help you get work personally and help your career but take a percentage fee from any bookings you never pay upfront to join an agent. Got agents are worth their weight in gold and have good contacts in the industry. As Presenter and Agent should have a good working relationship and work together as a team. Not the same as Agency.

Agency: A company who provide a particular service on behalf of another business, person, or group never represents the talent an individual. Often you will have to pay upfront to join.

Autocue: Also called Teleprompter. Autocue is actually the manufacturer but it's name is commonly used. This device used by a presenter to read a script on a transparent panel in front of a television camera lens in such a way that the text remains hidden from the camera. It's so important as TV Presenter not to sound like you're 'reading' the autocue. This is something we focus on all our TV Presenting Courses.

As Live: A programme which is pre-recorded but will transmit as if it was a live show. On our 5 Day TV Presenting Masterclass, you get to present your own 10-minute as-live show with a celebrity guest.

Back-anno: Back-announcement. When a presenter relates to the previous audio or song.  Can be scripted or ad lib. Eg, "That was Ed Sheeran and his new single “I Don’t Care” featuring Justin Bieber"

Back-timing: When a Radio Presenter calculates the intro time on the song in an attempt to talk over the intro of the song and finish just prior to the vocals commencing. or how music is back-timed for its ending to match the end of the program.

BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation: The main public service broadcaster in the UK, founded as the British Broadcasting Company back in 1922.

Breaking News: Interruptions of regular or planned programming for recently-occurring events as reported by a news company.

Brief: A document that details what is going to appear on the show For example celebrities, guests and items.

Bulletin: A short news broadcast. Buy out: This is when you are offered a Buy Out of rights, instead of repeat fees. Call Sheet: A daily report normally given to the production so they know what is being filmed that day. Call Time: The time you must report to your given location. You must be on time!!

Call sheet: The form which has the scenes or PTC's that will be filmed that day.

Cans: Nickname for headphones. Casting Director: A person responsible for casting.

Chat Show: A TV or Radio programme where people talk about themselves or work. The Graham Norton Show, Alan Carr Chatty Man, Ellen DeGeneres Show or Late Late show with James Corden.

Chroma-key: A process which allows you to film a presenter in front of a blank screen and add in different pictures behind, making it look as though they are somewhere else. It is sometimes called greenscreen or bluescreen. In the BBC it is often called Colour Separation Overlay (CSO ) Clapperboard: Also called the slate. Used to mark each take by number and help the editor synchronize sound and vision. Confirmed Booking: This is a firm commitment to work on this day. Do not take another job on that day. Continuity: A sequence filming over more than one day, or more than shot. It is therefore essential that nothing changes to upset the continuity of the scene.

Countdown: A bumper which counts down to the beginning of the following broadcast. Also used for the debut of a new channel.

Crash: When an announcement, jingle or graphic overlaps with a fixed point in the schedule e.g. the news or a time signal, usually this is due to poor timing.

Cross Fade: A technique where a radio presenter, producer or engineer fades out the out going track at the same time as fading in the new track.

Correspondent: A reporter who files stories from outside the newsroom, usually someone assigned to cover events in another city, or country.

Cue: This is your signal for action. Cut: This is your signal to stop.

DAB: Digital Audio Broadcasting. The use of digital encoding to send higher quality or a greater number of radio services to equipped receivers.

Dead Air: The time on-air where there is no audible transmission and it's silence. This can be down to; DJ, Producer or Engineer error, Equipment error or failure, Act of God or deliberate silence for remembrance.

Demo Reel: Also known as a Show Reel, a short video containing examples of a Presenters work for showing to potential employers. Our TV Presenter show reels at TV Training Academy are unique to you as an individual to ensure they are part of your brand, your personality and skills come across so you stand out from the competition.

Direct address: When a TV presenter speaks directly to the camera or viewer.

Dirty Shot: Most often an interview guest and the back of the reporter’s head.

Docudrama: A TV programme or film based on actual events that happened.

Documentary: A TV programme or film that deals with real people and events.

Donut: The handover from the tv studio to a location report.

Drive Time: The period of time where the majority of radio listeners travel from work usually 4-7pm. This, along with Breakfast time, this usually has a radio stations highest listener-ship. Commercials are normally more expensive during these times. Equity: Union that represents Artistes. Eye line: The direction you are required to look in shot.

Fader: A sliding control on a mixing desk. In radio it's used to control how loud audio is.

Feature: A non-breaking story on people, trends, issues or a particular subject. A feature story isn’t necessarily related to a current event.

Feedback: Also known as howl-round.  An ear-piercing noise created when the sound from a microphone is picked up by a loudspeaker, which in turn amplifies the sound. Final Checks: Hair and make-up last chance to get everything right.

Float: The name for a series of pictures when a presenter is talking or interviewing a guest but you can't see them on the screen. The pictures you see are called a float because they are floated over the voice of the presenter. They are used to illustrate what the presenter or guest is talking about. The sequence is sometimes called an OOV, which is short for Out Of Vision or underlay, which is shortened to ulay.

Floor Manager: The person who has overall charge of the studio area.

Foley: Reproduction of everyday sounds for TV shows and films, and can be anything from doors slamming, birds singing, transport noises. It helps to create a sense of reality. From The Top: To start the script from the beginning.

Gaffer: Also known as Chief Lighting Technician and is the head electrician.

Gaffer tape: A strong adhesive tape used in for almost everything in film and TV production.

Gallery: Also known as the production control room. Where the producer & director control the program output.

Gatekeeping: The process of controlling which stories are considered newsworthy. The editor will select which news stories are to be broadcast. 

Green room: An area where performers wait before appearing on a show. Despite it's name it isn't always green! Greenscreen: Sometime it can be a Bluescreen chroma-key. Filming takes place against green or blue background. The background can then be replaced by a different location when it's chroma-keyed.

Hard news: Serious news stories usually about politics, economics, war or crime. 

HDTV: High Definition Television: Broadcasting using a line standard of 720 or greater.

Headshot: The main photo in a performers portfolio. It's a close-up focused on the face, not a full body shot. Presenters Headshots are very different to Actors, make sure you get them right and always get them done professionally never a selfie or holiday photo! At TV Training Academy, we offer a headshot service for our TV Presenters. Ask us for more information.

Hook: A short introduction to a news story used to entice people to watch.

Ident: A short visual sequence that identifies TV or radio show. A symbol or logo, sometimes accompanied by music, a jingle or an animation.

Insert: Close-Ups of an item for example a product.

ITV: Independent Television. The UK's first commercial television network.

Jingle: A short song or tune with vocals used on a programme to identify the show, Presenter or used for advertising.

Link: Used to describe a spoken piece between two songs or into a feature such as news, weather or a competition. Location: Not filming at a studio? Filming will take place here. Long Shot: Full length shot with some of the background.

Lower Third: A Portion of screen of regular broadcast reserved for textual and static visual content; i.e. news ticker, time, title of segment, title of program, etc. Upper third has sometimes been used alongside lower third.

Magazine Show: a TV or Radio programme made up of various reports or stories. Examples would be, This Morning, Lorraine, The One Show, Sunday Brunch or Blue Peter. Mid Shot: Shot of the top half of the body.

Multi-Camera: Also called multiple-camera setup, multi-camera or simply multicam, a away of filming with several cameras as opposed to Single-Camera set up which uses one camera.

News belt: A round up of short news.

OB: Outside broadcast. An event or programme, or a brief news report, produced and fed back live from the location by an OB vehicle to the broadcaster.

Ofcom: Office of Communications. The regulator of broadcasting and communications in the UK.

OOV Video: A shot when a presenter is talking you can heard them but you can't see them on the screen. Also See Float. Pan: The camera moves from left to right, or right to left.

Pilot: A one-time episode of a proposed series, usually in extended form, to gauge the audience's reaction and to find out if people would enjoy a whole series.

PM: The production manager who manages the production budgets, funding, staffing and health and safety, they understand both the creative and technical aspects of production.

Pre-Record: When footage or audio is recorded in advance before it is required.

Producer: A producer coordinates, supervises, and controls major aspects of a project, including fundraising and hiring key people.

Prospects: A list of possible stories to include in a news programme.

PRS: Performing Rights Society: Now known as PRS for Music. A UK organisation charged with collect royalties for songwriters, composers and publishers. A PRS for Music licence is required to broadcast or play music in public places.

Raw Video/Footage: Unedited video/footage, just as it was shot. Also called field video. Also called Rushes

Re-call: Also known as a callback. The top few applicants are asked to audition again before the final decision is made on who gets the role. Rehearsal: This is when you rehearse before filming.

Release form: A form the performer signs giving permission for a photo or footage of them to be published. Also used for talent to sign away various rights (e.g. usage payments, or the rights to use footage in ways not previously agreed). If you have an agent check with them first before signing, as it may affect other agreements. Reset: Moving the camera to a different position. Rolling/Roll Camera: See Turning Over/Turning.

Running order: The sequence the stories or content appears on the programme.

Running to time: A report for the programme to ensure it's on target to finish on time. Programmes can only be a certain length,The producer has to make sure their programme doesn't overrun because there are other programmes before and after it in the schedule. Runner or PA: Can be instructed do anything at all to support the ADs and Production Office. From collecting people to and from the set to taking lunch orders or picking up faxes. Rushes: A first look at what has been filmed on a given day.

Screen test: An audition for a role in front of the camera.

Scoop: An exclusive story that no-one else has reported. Set: Where filming is taking place.

Shorthand: A written language used by journalists to note down everything a person says at top speed.

Show reel: Also known as a Demo Reel a short video containing examples of a Presenters work for showing to potential employers. Our TV Presenter show reels at TV Training Academy are unique to you as an individual to ensure they are part of your brand, your personality and skills come across so you stand out from the competition.

Slug: A word which sums up the news story. It saves the journalists writing out the headline multiple times. Similar to writing initials instead of your full name. It's used in the running order to identify the story. Once a slug has been decided, everyone should stick to that name to avoid confusion.

Soundbite: A small portion usually one or two sentences of an audio recording often an interview used to illustrate a news story in the words of the interviewee. Speed: The Camera has reached its required speed. Standing By: This is a warning that filming is about to commence.

Talk Radio: A radio programmes which the presenters discuss subjects with people who telephone them during the programme Take: Filming of a particular sequence. This will be repeated until the director is happy.

Titles: Mark the beginning and end of a programme. Tracking Shot or Dolly: The camera moves smoothly forwards or backwards by running on tracks.

Talk Back: Or in-ear talk-back, a device used so the production team in the gallery can talk directly to the Presenter without it being broadcast.

Teleprompter: Also called Autocue whish is actually the manufacturer but it's name is commonly used. This device used by a presenter to read a script on a transparent panel in front of a television camera lens in such a way that the text remains hidden from the camera.

TFP: Time For Prints: When the performer is willing to pose for a photographer for free in return for prints they can use in their portfolio. You should always get a copy. Turning Over/Turning: This means the camera is about to roll.

VO: Voiceover: A Recorded voice announcement or narration in presenting, drama or advertising. 

Vox pops: Video, audio or text. A type of short interview where members of the public are stopped at random and asked a question. Vox pop is short for vox populi, a Latin phrase which means "voice of the people".

VT: Video Tape before digital technology, video tape was widely used for recording moving pictures. The term VT is still used to refer to all video, whether it's on tape or digital. Wrap: This indicates the end of the filming day.

TVC: TV commercial or advertisement.

TX: Transmission. When something will be broadcast. 2-shot: Dirty Shot: most often an interview guest and the back of the reporter’s head. Also used in any shot including two people.

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