The New Voice Tracking–Artificial Intelligence DJs

by theaudioprof on August 24, 2011

KROV tries AI for DJ

The new school year is, essentially underway. This week is graduate student orientation week, and I’m spending time getting to know the new masters and doctoral students in the department, plus catching up with those returning. This will be a busy semester for me, as I’m teaching 3 courses instead of the normal 2. But, I’ll try to keep blogging about things that catch my eye/ear in the media AND keep you up to date on research I’m doing.

One thing that really caught my attention the other day was a decision by a community radio station in San Antonio Texas to begin hosting their afternoon music show with an artificial intelligence agent named Denise.  Voice tracking has been going on for decades as a way to lower station staffing costs.  But now using $200 software the station can have a tireless worker.  According to a blog post by Dominique, the guy who purchased the software from Guile 3D studios with the thoughts of bringing it to radio, the idea was initially met with skepticism.  But, how long do you think it will take General Managers to realize the cost-to-benefit ratio when described like this:

If Denise took over the role of a human on the air, a program worth roughly $200 buys a lifetime jock for that radio station.  She does not require an annual salary, she never gets sick, does not need sleep, food, or has the need for restroom breaks.  She can literally be on the air 24/7!

This is strengthened by the fact that, according to Dominique, the bot can be updated with new intelligence about current and local events by a PD anywhere in the world.  This will certainly be something to keep an eye and ear on.  For my tastes, the “talk” still sounds much more artificial than intelligent.  Check out a video demonstration of the software below–which in fairness was initially created to be a computer desktop assistant, not an afternoon drive jock.  Also, read stories about the KROV move in MSNBC and Radio World.

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