08/22

Celebrating Radio’s first “Artificial Intelligence DJ”

She’s causing a ton of consternation in radio circles and she’s either unreal or all too real, depending on your point of view.

I’m talking about “Denise,” radio’s first “Artificial Intelligence DJ,” appearing soon on one HD station with more to follow, no doubt.

Let’s begin by leaving aside the easy jokes about “intelligence,” artificial or otherwise, as it relates to the average DJ in the ears of many listeners.

Let’s also acknowledge that this is, first and foremost, a publicity play which has already proved worth its weight in gold.

Finally, let’s note the difference between a “DJ” and a “Personality,” where the former is part of the music mix and the latter is a destination unto him- or herself.

This points to a larger issue:  What is the value of the DJ in the radio mix?

In my view, the more the radio experience is enhanced by the presence of the DJ, the more important that DJ is.  And, conversely, the more the DJ is viewed as “chatter,” the less important the DJ is.

Which side of that coin any given jock is on is a function of the format, the management, the ratings, the programming direction, and (last but not least) the talents of the particular jock in question.

No jock who adds significant value to the radio experience need fear “Denise.”  She will always be a wooden Pinnochio in a world of real boys.

However, any jock whose contribution to the station is indifferent from “chatter” – any jock who is more of an obstacle to giving listeners what they want than an asset in providing the kind of relevance and spontaneous joy great jocks have always been famous for – those DJ’s are no better and certainly more expensive than “Denise.”

In other words, if a jock can be replaced by “Denise” with no fallout to the station in terms of ratings, revenue, or audience and advertiser satisfaction, then that jock can and should be replaced.

The smart broadcasters already know this, of course.

They already know that it’s what’s between the songs that gives radio its competitive advantage, now and into the future.  That’s why their preference will always be to syndicate and voice-track humans rather than people who resemble them only in very bad light.

Their preference will be to stock their air with communicators who connect, not software algorithms that need to be connected.

So celebrate the arrival of “Denise.”

There’s plenty of room for intelligence in radio.  Even if a smidgeon of it is artificial.

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  • They’re not replacing jocks with a robot, they’re replacing them with $10 interns.  The robot can’t create the content, the scripts will now be crafted by interns, rookies and those without experience.

    THAT’S the shame.  The robot is just the voice tracked jock reading someone else’s liner cards. 

    But you’re right – those with personality won’t fear the change.  I’d encourage all CHR jocks and programmers to have a poke onto BBC Radio1 to listen to how a radio station can DRIP with personality while consistently having a fresh and energetic music sound.

    Greg James and Scott Mills are midday/drive jocks that crank out morning quality content every day.  No way those two will ever be replaced by a robot.

  • And robots are even cheaper than interns.

    Until they take over the planet and trigger the apocalypse.

  • Denise is not a robot.  She is an artificial intelligence program.  There is a big difference.  Secondly, regarding the comment “The robot is just the voice tracked jock reading someone else’s liner cards.” Do human jocks not read liner cards written by “someone else”?  They do.  I agree she can never replace a “personality” however this is a PPM world.  More and more program directors are looking for 7 second jocks.  In that sort of situation she is ideal. 

  • You are too clever by half, Dominique, but I’m onto you. 🙂

    Great PR, I’ll say it again.

  • Liner jocks are a problem, not a solution.

  • I was just wondering, um, can Denise learn to re-write that lame line usually pitched to the Winner, “And, tell me – what station just gave you (whatever) the big prize (is this time)?” to cue the listener to say the call letters, or are we stuck with that s**t?

  • Sorry, Denise is ALL ABOUT that line!

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  • Dominique Garcia

    I took most of her breaks from today and put them all together in an aircheck.  The voice change happens around 5:15

    I
    had to slow down Denise’s voice a lot cause I wanted to make sure
    everyone understood her including the people who are slow listeners.  I
    personally like her to speak a little faster.  I noticed when she speaks
    a little faster she sounds a little more natural.  However that is my
    opinion.

    Thanks to every one who listened live and who is going to check out the aircheck.

    http://www.zshare.net/audio/94091932fd8ccf4c/

  • Pingback: Celebrating Denise | Tracy Johnson Media()

  • JanJeffries

    Buzz – it’s no longer about how experienced you are, or your AQH share.  It’s about money, and if the big boys want more money, they will replace the talent with whatever costs less.

    With so many mega radio companies either voice-tracking outside their market and running syndicated morning shows, they are already saving money.  What is the need to have AI to do a show?  Can they really be that greedy?  Yes, they can.

    They serve a different god, or no god at all.