Guest Host on the Morning Blend with JJ Synder

In my 12 years here in Las Vegas, watching the Morning Blend with JJ Synder and Shawn Tempesta has become a typical part of my A.M. routine. There’s nothing more relaxing than settling down in front of the morning news with a hot cup of coffee. So, you could imagine my excitement when I was invited to guest host for Shawn with my pal JJ this past week! 

As a Las Vegas performer turned professional emcee and keynote speaker, I’m certainly not shy in front of a camera — but I will admit, TV hosting is much different than hosting live events! Tag along as I share the lessons learned during my time as a guest host on the Morning Blend.  

Big (Temporary) Shoes to Fill on the Morning Blend 

Shawn Tempesta is a legend on KTNV-13 Las Vegas. Since 2010, Shawn has served as co-host of The Morning Blend alongside JJ Synder, a good friend of mine in the Las Vegas community. Shawn recently announced that he will be resigning, focusing on hosting the city’s top-rated afternoon radio show on Mix 94.1 as well as hosting middays on Boston’s Magic 106.7. 

Following Shawn’s announcement, it was clear there would be some pretty big shoes to fill. So, I was ecstatic when the network reached out to ask if I could temporarily step in! Though I’ve been a regular unofficial fill-in for years, I was honored to be considered among the talented Las Vegas personalities to step into Shawn’s shoes, even if just for a little bit. 

Dancing on camera with Rouge Las Vegas

Lessons Learned as Las Vegas Performer Turned Daytime Host

From virtual comedy shows to virtual team-building, I spent A LOT of time in front of a camera between 2020 and 2021. When you combine that air time with the hours of footage captured as I did my thing as a Las Vegas performer, professional emcee, and keynote speaker, it’s safe to say that I feel pretty comfortable being filmed. 

However, that’s not to say there weren’t some lessons learned in my time as a daytime host. Here are three takeaways from this Las Vegas performer turned news anchor for a day! 

1. Interview Skills Are Honed Over Time 

Unless you’re a journalist or a natural-born Barbara Walters, most interview skills are honed over time, not learned overnight or from a two-day online program. As a professional emcee, interview skills are something that I’ve had to gradually master over the course of my career — and television appearances like being on the Morning Blend with JJ really help hone my skills! 

In television, you strive to hit every question seamlessly in one take, especially when you’re filming for a daily program with such a short editing and post-production window. This level of professionalism has greatly influenced me in my professional emcee career, as I’ve had tons of practice needing to nail an interview on the first try when live on stage. 

Not to mention, you really learn how to make the person you’re interviewing feel comfortable when you’re learning from masters like JJ and Shawn. I’ve realized the ability to have an organic conversation with someone truly makes for a great interview. In fact, I can think back to interviewing EVP of NA for Tourism Ireland, Alison Metcalfe, as the professional emcee for Signature Travel Network, and know that some of those skills were honed live on TV. 

Jeff Civillico Interview with Tourism Ireland

2. Practice Makes Perfect for a Professional Emcee

Aside from interviewing, there are several other skills that you learn while subbing as a daytime host. As I mentioned earlier, I have tons of experience filming for virtual or pre-recorded entertainment. However, the Morning Blend studio is definitely set up a bit differently than my usual virtual event production company, Show Creators Studios.

From lighting and audio to scripting and post-production magic, the ability to flex my TV hosting muscles really expands on the skill set I have while in my own studio — essentially building that natural muscle memory I have once I step on stage. Though TV hosting skills are certainly different from professional emcee skills, the combination of the two definitely make a stronger, more prepared live entertainment host. 

3. Exposure Helps to Become More Recognizable 

As a Las Vegas performer, I would like to consider myself pretty well known within the local community. I have friends across the entertainment circuit, connections with local charities through my non-profit Win-Win Entertainment, and even personal ties to my Caesars Entertainment family. Of course, appearing on the local morning news certainly helps for exposure!

The goal as a Las Vegas entertainer (along with serving as professional emcee and corporate entertainer) is for people to recognize your name. You want people to get excited when they hear you’re coming to their event or to a TV station near them! The more you can appear on programs like the Morning Blend, the more you can generate that much-needed buzz. 

Tune In to Learn Where I’ll Be Appearing Next! 

As the search for Shawn’s replacement continues over at the Morning Blend, I’m headed to Long Beach, California to serve as the keynote speaker for ASTRA Toys. While I loved my time on set with JJ — and was honored to temporarily fill Shawn’s shoes on the show — it’s time for this entertainer and emcee to keep the show on the road. Until next time, Las Vegas!