Is AI Going To Replace Voicetracking?


For years radio stations have used voicetracking and automation technology to replace live hosts to save money. Reuters is now reporting that Artificial Intelligence start-up WellSaid Labs has developed voice technology that sounds exactly like live DJ’s.

According to Reuters WellSaid Labs has created over 50 real human voice avatars where someone simply needs to type in text and the voice will sound just like an actual DJ working at a radio station.

The WellSaid website claims it can turn voice to text in real time and the samples they have posted to their website do not sound robotic.

KCSN host Andy Chanley (who also worked at KSWD in Los Angeles) was apparently one of the test subjects for the new technology. He’s says the new AI technology will allow his voice to live on simultaneously in many places.

Reuters reports that the AI voice and the AI voice created from the robot DJ “derived from Artificial Neural Disk-JockeY” were hard to distinguish.

Could this new technology even mean less on-air jobs on radio?

Read the full Reuters story HERE.



  1. You’re so right! Radio isn’t what it used to be, but I am so blessed to have GREAT memories of working with terrific talent when radio was FUN!!! I may be a fossil, but I do enjoy having 20 somethings and 30 somethings tell me they enjoyed listening to us when they were growing up. It was like a party every morning! Just yesterday, a young man told me he feels like he’s losing brain cells when he listens to current morning radio shows. What do you expect when shows are produced the day before with fake bits by hosts who don’t even live in their community or talk about what’s happening in their city? I feel sorry for people working in radio today who have no idea what it used to be. You know, things often come full circle. Maybe when people get bored with radio robots in years to come, some brilliant young mind sitting in a corporate office will propose a brand new idea and say,”Hey, let’s try something new…live and local talent.” This “fossil” recently retired after 40 years in radio and I consider myself blessed to have worked in radio when it was fun!!!

  2. This article has the same responses when Napster, Youtube, Facebook, Google, Podcasting and all others were being introduced. Each one (among others) has pulled attention and revenue away from radio. The fear in these responses is embarrassing. Instead of finding a way to welcome this into the ecosystem, it’s just another thing to complain about. The “magic’ of radio is a fossil. Get over it. Radio is now just a delivery system. It’s a noun. You don’t hear radio-ing like you do Podcasting. All of the #radiolife hashtags clearly see the state of the business. Positn pics with your feet on the console while songs are playing show clients exactly why they need to move their money elsewhere. Instead of working to build and maintain audience for the upcoming stop-set (which is where your check comes from), you are bragging about being lazy and sitting on your ass. To answer the question of “why would this be published?”, I’d ask “What are you scared of it”… what is your answer, suggestion or solutions. You have none. My God, this guy is blaming deregulation, STILL?! I’m actually excited this is happening because the Dinosaurs of this business need to be washed out…. can’t happen soon enough.

  3. AI for someone off sick for the odd show maybe a good programming tool. Beyond that it just destroys the whole communication purpose and magic of radio. Everything for the bottom dollar does not work

  4. Pretty soon radio will just have a HAL 9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey doing voice work. I know that sounds stupid, but who among us who worked back in the 70’s and 80’s ever thought that radio would come to this? Radio is too often run for every nickel in profit it can make without regard to what radio was or should be. Radio has no one but itself to blame for the lack of talent and creativity that exists today. I just retired last spring after 45 years in the business, and over thanksgiving weekend at the radio station I left, every announcer took 4 days off. Nobody on the air for 4 straight days. That never happened in all my years anywhere. Lock the door on the listeners and sponsors and tell them that you’ll be back on Monday. It started with voice tracking to save money and training and hiring part timers and now on to the next way to save time and money as radio slides down the hill.

    • Mike, “radio” is not at all the same product it was in the past. Much like most things in life. “Radio” is either the platform – AM or FM or streaming- or “radio” is the content. The platform(s) obviously have changed dramatically. So has the content. — But, the corporate owners like Audacy and iHeart (and others) are largely focused on debt servicing and executive compensation. “Content” is viewed by them as an expense, which is why they’ve fired many of the top professional personalities and replaced them with voice-tracking.
      And yes, the corporate owners will love AI, especially if it’s cheaper than voice tracking. And this is why Pittman at iHeart loves podcasts– they cost virtually nothing to make.
      On the other hand, the pure radio companies – past and present (like Beasley)- respect professional personalities and view “content” as the backbone of their product, not as an expense. This is why many of these pure radio companies continue to be successful, to this day.

  5. Why would RadioInk want to publish this? To encourage putting more real radio talent out of work? Ah the damage done by deregulation back in the mid to late 90’s.

    • Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away, David. No matter how deeply one inserts their cranium in the finely granulated silicon.

      Has anyone mentioned both Radio Ink and Reuters are news sources?


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