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 electricity? Of course not. And when you were in school, did you qualify reports that tipped off the teacher where to look for the plagiarized material? So why should you credit your source? This is one of the most common mistakes personalities make.

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…

I was watching The Today Show and Savannah talked about this guy in Ohio that ate Big Macs every day for the last 50 years…

This makes no sense.

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

There are times when a responsible journalist should reference the source of news content. It can add credibility, protect the organization from legal liability, or advance a story by involving the source. But those are exceptions. And most of you are not journalists. You’re entertainers.

Don’t Credit Your Source

There’s nothing wrong with stealing adapting content from magazines, newspapers, television programs, websites, and other shows. I’m all for it. They’re a great source of ideas, inspiration, thought-starters, and content.

Great. Steal the topic. Curate it and turn it into original content.

That Buzzfeed list of things for kids to do at home during summer vacation? Awesome. That can be great content. Why send listeners to Buzzfeed? That’s not going to generate more listening.

There’s no upside to starting a segment with:

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

The source adds nothing to the entertainment value. And it signals to listeners that they should go check out the survey instead of talk about your show. Eliminate the source.

Here’s another way to get into it:

My wife tricked me into a couples quiz yesterday and I fell for a trick question.

This hook gets to the essence of the topic – the conflict.

  • Hook the audience with a topic.
  • Lead with a provocative comment
  • Engage with banter and conversation!

And the credit goes to where it belongs: your show.


Increasing Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) is one of the greatest challenges radio stations face today. We simply must improve at capturing audience attention and being more memorable. Getting listeners to talk about the show doesn’t depend exclusively on whether or not you credit your source. But it’s a contributing factor that is easy to avoid.

Isn’t it funny that many of the sources we get show prep content from are businesses that make a fortune grabbing and repurposing content from another source? Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Upworthy find interesting content, curate it, and make it their own. But they rarely if ever credit the source. They turn it into original content for their brand.

Isn’t that what radio personalities do?

The important concept, though, is curation. Reading and commenting on a list or survey is not well-curated. Create it with a unique angle and it will become original.

In any case, it diminishes the show.

If you wonder how to put that into practice, check out my show prep service Personality Magnet. Each day, there’s fresh content, curated, and ready to pour personality into it. Get a trial for just $1 to check it out.

Be bold. Don’t credit your source.

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