A Face For Radio. As the man himself pictured likes to quip. Yet now his niche obsession, "The Unexplained", hits mainstream media in the form of a two hour Sunday late night TV [as broadcast in the UK, also streamed live on Youtube, at least] feast.
Here, Howard Hughes gives the thumbs up to a contributor signing off during last weekend's show.
It struck me that even today, too few people on sales video calls - or any such meetings actually - purposely use overt gestures. A shame. And easily remedied. One of my modules delivered early in lockdowns featured forty-five minutes of strutting this stuff. I must do more of it, as the reception was great, and the value of using movements like these is high. Gaining greater motion, engagement and a feeling of togetherness.
Our Howard started out as a local newspaper journalist, then moved into radio. And latterly due to his long-running fringe show - "a total mix of hard science, weird science and pure paranormality" - somehow not being dropped when his radio network suddenly switched on to the TV, has landed on our telly. And we're all the better for it and his surprising breath of fresh air.
He likely has had some form of media training for being in front of the newsroom camera during his career. Yet if so, he doesn't seem to adhere to it. And good for him. He comes across so naturally that I'm sure part of his appeal is his authenticity. A static newsbot he most certainly is not.
In this particular episode, so many good steers occurred for how we can get more out of video calls that I had to go back and re-watch large chunks of it.
Here's another shot of the presenter. This time holding up shorthand he'd written. So delightfully old school. It was for an unseen note passed to his producer. Which he then decided to show. Can you guess what it says?
Lyrid meteor shower. Me neither. Who else wished they'd learned shorthand?
This also reveals (by omission) a golden rule of showing participants your scribbled marvels on a call; use thick-nibbed pens.
He's never worried about losing eye contact. Often shuffling papers, running orders, guest notes before us. It comes across as real.
There's a possible giveaway here that this is crafted behaviour. As there's only text on one side of each sheet. A cheeky tip for us.
Yet such performance is not restricted to papers. He thinks nothing of pulling out his phone and scrolling through emails to help prompt an interview along.
But ever the pro, he keeps making the occasional glance back up at the screen.
Before we move on to learnings from his guests, audiences love a blooper. And this week served up the mistake of showing the next guest set up, whilst the current one was still speaking.
Yet even here there's a tip. As the chap on the right was shifting his space around to ensure he curated his 'set' as he deemed fit for his imminent arrival on-screen.
The nature of the subject matter means you're guaranteed to see appearances by those at what I'll kindly label towards the nerdy end of the scale. Yet one guest was a seasoned performer. Including as a long-serving BBC News Science Editor. Note how David Whitehouse projects himself from home.
Strong bookcase game. 45° spotlighting. And a corner backdrop often a winner too.
A hospitality professor from Houston spoke about their trainee robot waiter. He went for a virtual background. His hairline flickering as you'd come to expect. I still see virtual backdrops today, but need for them is fading as less home-based calls or similar non-office ones are being made.
In this case, you'd think this was a photo of the facility he works within. Maybe though an inside view would've been better?
Next up an entertainment reporter linking in, probably from her Hollywood home.
Great lighting. Even the daylighting window behind doesn't dazzle. And comforting depth of shot.
A third dial-in from America came from this married couple. Authors of a children's book touching on one of the shows major themes; aliens. Here, the book held aloft.
Followed up with a peak inside.
Good positioning of the demo'd item here. Let's also gauge their setting.
All those exposed window panes in the middle of the day, yet it works. Quite the environment. That lamp in the centre must be on for a reason, too. It also won't have escaped notice that this is akin to a hybrid call.
And finally, the man setting up earlier. Mike Godfrey, among other things, explained how a supposedly free public charging point can be a scam to cream off all your data. Hackers use this OMG cable, which looks identical to a typical charging one.
Beware the blur.
Note too how this cyber security pro likes to show his workbench.
Plenty of pointers overall here. A timely reminder to run a quick check on them for our calls too.