What Does The Future Hold For Air Talent? Ask AI Ashley


In June 2023, Alpha Media’s Live 95.5 (KBFF) in Portland, OR, made broadcasting history by creating an AI version of their human midday host, Ashley Elzinga. She was on hand at CRS 2024 to discuss artificial intelligence’s relationship to air talent with a full panel.

“Chat GBT: The Good, The Bad, And The Truth” saw Elzinga join copyright attorney Anna Chauvet, The Weiss Agency President Heather Cohen, and Audacy Head of Programming Jeff Sottolano in a discussion moderated by Cumulus Country VP Charlie Cook.

Elzinga started shared her pioneering experience with AI in radio, emphasizing the technology’s significant advancements in the short time AI Ashley has been in use and its potential to shape the future of broadcasting.

Sottolano discussed Audacy’s application of AI for simple tasks like creating network tags and simulating listener voices, pointing out that AI’s ability to refine music logs hasn’t reduced the workload for human curators. Meanwhile, Cohen raised concerns about Name, Image, and Likeness rules in the context of AI, stressing the need for language in contracts that protects talent from inadvertently endorsing products or services.

Chauvet addressed the legal landscape surrounding AI, mentioning the absence of a federal right of publicity but acknowledging state-level protections. She also touched upon the need for careful review of AI-generated commercial drafts to comply with FCC regulations and serve the community responsibly.

The panelists agreed on the importance of using AI responsibly to avoid misinformation and maintain trust with audiences. Sottolano specifically mentioned the decision to exclude AI from news content creation until the technology can reliably meet journalistic standards.

Elzinga highlighted the practical use of AI in her work, using it to generate creative content like liners and sweeps, yet firmly believing in the irreplaceable value of human program directors.

The session concluded with a consensus on the need for the radio industry to navigate the AI landscape with caution, ensuring that advances in technology enhance rather than compromise the quality and integrity of broadcasting.


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