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

Radio Talent: You’re Killing The 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 electricity? Of course not. So on the air, why do radio personalities think it’s important to 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…

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

Of course, there are times when a responsible journalist should reference the source of 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.

And most of you are not journalists, but entertainers.

Don’t Credit Your Source

Now there’s nothing wrong with stealing adopting content from magazines, newspapers, televisions programs, websites, and other 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 ideas for kids to do at home that came from Buzzfeed? Why send listeners there? That’s not going to generate more quarter hours.

There’s no upside for┬ápersonalities 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. 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 emphasizes the essence of the topic – the conflict. It takes out meaningless details that don’t build toward the payoff.

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This is an example of building anticipation with a simple formula:

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

And it results in all of the attention going to the right place: your show.

Credit Your Source? Are You Kidding?

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

The important concept, though, is curation. When you hear a show reading and commenting on a list or survey you hear a show that hasn’t prepped properly.

Some personalities simply regurgitate content from a show prep service and have nothing more to offer. And that’s often the biggest problem. It’s a Show Prep problem. Curating content to become unique entertainment is more complex than just identifying entertaining information and slapping it on the air.

It’s adapting it to your personality.


Perhaps the reason personalities feel the need to credit your source is a lack of confidence. Maybe it’s that they haven’t prepared a unique angle beyond the source’s premise.

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In any case, it causes personalities to become less important. It diminishes the show, just a bit. It also adds useless talk and takes longer to get to the engaging content.

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

Be bold. Don’t credit your source.

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