Radio Talent: You’re Killlng Your Show When You Credit Your Source!

Radio Talent: You’re Killlng Your Show When You Credit Your Source!

by Tracy Johnson

When you turn on the lights in your home, do you quickly thank the electric company or power plant? Or the solar panels or wind turbines that provide the electricity? Of course not. So on the air, why credit your source?

Starting with the origin of the topic simply transfers the attention from where it belongs (your show) to someone else.

Of course, there are times when a responsible journalist should reference the source of their news content. It can add credibility to a story, protect the news organization from legal liability or advance a story by involving the source. But those are exceptions.

Air personalities are another matter.

Why You Shouldn’t Credit Your Source

Many entertainment-oriented air personalities open a break with something like:

According to an article in this month’s Cosmo…

A new USA Today survey says that…

I saw on HGTV last night that…

We were just on the Entertainment Tonight website during the break and found out…

Now there’s nothing wrong with stealing adopting content from magazines, newspapers, televisions programs, websites and even competitive radio shows. I’m all for it. They’re a great source of ideas, inspiration, thought-starters, and content.

Steal the topic, curate it and turn it into original content.

That list of vacation ideas for kids you got from Cosmopolitan Magazine? Credit your source, and you might sell some magazines, but won’t convert more quarter hours.

There’s no upside for personalities to start breaks with:

My wife and I were taking one of those personality quizzes in in Glamour this weekend, and one of the questions was…

Most of the time, the information is only to transition into a related segment or a phone topic. The source adds nothing to the entertainment value. There’s no point in crediting the source. Just get into the topic!

Hook the audience with a topic, lead with a provocative comment and engage with banter and conversation! Turn the topic in a completely different direction.

Credit Your Source? Are You Kidding?

Some of the most successful online businesses make a fortune from leveraging content from other sources. Buzzfeed, Reddit, Upworthy and thousands more simply find interesting content, curate it and repurpose it as their own. Isn’t that what you do on the air every day?

Of course, if you’re just regurgitating the same content and have nothing more to offer, there’s another problem… a Show Prep problem. Curation is more than just repeating something you heard. It’s adapting it to your personality.


Perhaps it’s lack of confidence. Maybe it’s that they haven’t prepared a unique angle beyond the source’s premise.

In any case, crediting a source makes personalities less important. It diminishes them, just a bit. It also adds useless talk that you really don’t need and takes longer to get into the engaging content.

Be bold and take credit for your content.

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