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Thanks: for what?

By Ian Nance - posted Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Radio listeners and television viewers often hear interviewees say: “Thanks for having me on the show”.

This habit-driven phrase of reversed gratitude has become almost as commonplace as the traditional “How are you?” - little more than a piece of routine phraseology.

What it implies is: “despite my expertise in the subject we’re discussing, I would never normally get such a large number of people to hear me without your allowing me to appear on your programme”.


But that programme’s host or presenter is only using the guest’s presence as a component of entertainment, not as a result of any planned outcome of what may be a complex topic.

In some ways, this usage of an expert is the almost a stereotypical example of ‘horses for courses”.

What an interviewee really should say at the end of a segment is something like: “Thanks for recognising my familiarity with this and inviting me to explain it”.

Informational programme production relies heavily on the ability of a specialist to give an understanding about a topic far greater than the sometimes lesser knowledge of the presenter.

Otherwise; what is the point of inviting that speaker to participate in the first place? 

It’s important to recognise that there is a difference between an invited guest’s having some kind of special subject knowledge, compared to a reporter’s fact-seeking questioning.


Most programme hosts have a wide but generalised grasp of current events without necessarily a specific special understanding, making them a bit like the clichéd ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.

Nonetheless, they do have the ability to recognise what their audiences need to know, and can draw out from their guest information and facts which will supply that audience’s need, as well as to gain a broad ranging response to questioning.

Also, they normally are well educated and have a good command of language and its subtleties of expression; this can communicate more readily than a direct answer to a question.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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