oldest TV music talent show host split image

Guinness World Records are saddened to hear that Song Hae (South Korea), the world's oldest TV music talent show host, passed away on 8 June 2022, at the age of 95.

Veteran entertainer Song Hae presented the TV show National Singing Contest for 34 years.

Song Hae's record was confirmed at the age of 94 years and 350 days on 12 April 2022.

Born in 1927, he began his career as an entertainer in 1955 by joining the Changgong musical troupe. He hosted the National Singing Contest, a variety show on KBS Channel 1, from 1988 until 2022.

KBS have aired special features paying tribute to the late Song Hae, including a memorial documentary feature on his life. 

SongHae with smiling face

Song Hae took a one-month break from his hosting duties in March due to COVID-19 and returned to the stage after recuperating.

In an exclusive interview with the late national TV icon in May 2022, he shared how happy he felt to have achieved this incredible career milestone. 

"It feels tremendously good. I feel like I am on the top of the world," said Song Hae.

"I think it is a reward for my long-term commitment to broadcasting to be designated as the world record holder. I would truly like to thank everyone, and to share this joy with people all over the world." - Song Hae, May 2022

Song Hae's passion for his job extended beyond fame and recognition. He singled out the National Singing Contest as his driving force and motivation to keep working until the very end.

 "Ordinary people and viewers are a source of the strength to maintaining my passion for the work," said Song Hae. 

"I have met people from all walks of life for the last 34 years through this programme. I laugh and cry with them."

SongHae and KBS President CEO KimEuiCheol

For so many years, the contestants of the show and the viewers are what kept him going, and he loved meeting and talking with the contestants and listening to their background stories during rehearsals. 

Even at his advanced age, Song Hae was extremely hard working and diligent. He would travel to the programme's shoot location a day in advance to gather local news, absorb the ambience and memorise his script.

On the day of filming, he was always on set by seven in the morning for preparation, despite the programme not being recorded until one in the afternoon. 

There were always unexpected situations that were not on the script, but he believed that such surprises were the fun of the show.

In an entertainment career spanning almost 50 years, Song Hae hosted well over a thousand episodes of the National Singing Contest, and brought smiles to many more faces. 

This beloved national icon will live on in the hearts of the show's fans and contestants.  

Our thoughts are with Song Hae's friends and family during this difficult time.