304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Discover the future of radio as AI DJs like ‘AI Ashley’ hit the airwaves! Dive into the debate on whether technology is a threat or a tool for radio talent. Find out what industry experts and personalities are saying about this groundbreaking shift in broadcasting.
During the summer, a groundbreaking event unfolded in the world of radio as Live 95.5 in Oregon introduced “AI Ashley,” the first AI DJ to host an entire radio shift. This innovative development utilized an artificially generated version of the voice of Ashley Elzinga, a human radio host based in Michigan who gave her consent for this project.
However, at a recent radio conference in Dallas, Texas, there was a fair share of scepticism among industry professionals regarding the integration of AI. Shawn Tempesta, a host for 102.7VGS in Las Vegas, Nevada, expressed concerns about the potential impact of AI on jobs and the fear that it could lead to mass unemployment, not only in radio but across various sectors. Jessica Bonilla from Mix 105.1 in Orlando echoed these concerns, emphasizing the lure of companies to adopt cheaper and faster AI solutions.
Cory Dylan from 100.7 KFBG in San Diego raised a unique concern about “identity theft” in terms of voice replication, highlighting that contracts might not adequately protect the voices of radio personalities. She questioned the sincerity of assurances that AI wouldn’t replace human talent entirely.
However, not everyone in the radio industry shares these negative sentiments. Toby Knapp from 97.1WASH-FM in Washington, D.C., believes that AI won’t replace radio jobs entirely. He views technology as an ever-evolving aspect of the industry and encourages fellow radio personalities to embrace what technology can offer. While he sees AI as a valuable tool for creating content, he remains cautious about using it to replicate voices but isn’t entirely opposed to the idea.
Dan Anstandig, CEO of Future, an Ohio-based tech company specializing in broadcast-focused software, sees AI as a helpful resource in an era marked by industry layoffs and cutbacks. Futuri’s product, RadioGPT, which utilizes the GPT-4 language model by OpenAI (also underpinning ChatGPT), was used to create AI Ashley. It can assist in scriptwriting, story discovery, and even “hosting” radio programs with artificially generated voices.
Regarding compensation, Ashley Elzinga clarified that she was paid for the use of her voice and emphasized that AI companies do not own the voices they use. This understanding was part of her agreement when participating in the “AI Ashley” project.
Fred Jacobs, a radio consultant, believes that AI will make the job of accomplished radio personalities easier, particularly on personality-driven shows. He sees AI as a tool to enhance their work rather than a threat.
One significant question that remains unanswered is how talent will be compensated if their digitally altered voices are used in other markets. Currently, this issue is subject to negotiations between individual broadcasters and their agents.
In conclusion, while some in the radio industry express concerns about AI, others see it as a means to adapt and thrive in an evolving technological landscape. The debate continues as the radio world grapples with the potential benefits and challenges AI brings to the airwaves.