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How AI tools can help your community radio station

How AI tools can help your community radio station

October 4th, 2023

It’s no secret that AI is taking over the world, or, at least, talking about it is. The public perception of AI started when ChatGPT burst onto the scene. Now AI is spreading to many more verticals. There are new AI companies, models and tools being created everyday for different industries and radio is no different. I mean, just check out the creatively named RadioGPT.

We’ll see how long the AI hype-cycle lasts. Many of the companies started today won’t be around tomorrow but I think it’s safe to say that AI is here to stay.

Does the release of AI mean you have to fear for your station’s future? No. I don’t think you do. AI is a long way off from capturing your station’s creativity and community spirit.

So many community and independent radio stations are formed by and pushed forward with the lifeblood of the staff, volunteers, listeners and wider community. The wave of AI tools can help your station focus on what’s important while the AI focuses on the tedious work.

Let’s see how.

Content creation

Creating content for your station can be a very time consuming task. It’s also not something you want to fully hand off to AI (sorry RadioGPT). A radio station is in large part a creative project. It’s not very creative if everything is run by an AI. However, there are ways that an AI can actually help unlock your creativity and increase your output.

If there is one thing that ChatGPT is great at it’s helping outline and condense content. While you may not want ChatGPT to write your content for you — whether that’s articles, show outline or scripts for segments — ChatGPT can help you get that content out faster.

Try and ask ChatGPT to summarise a topic for you, or ask it to give you an outline from a content prompt. Used in this way ChatGPT can be used to speed up your process while you stay firmly in the driver seat.

The best thing about ChatGPT is that it has a free tier. The newer ChatGPT models and features are locked behind a paywall but there’s still plenty of value to be had from the free tier.

Using ChatGPT can be quite controversial. Some people love it and claim it’s the new productivity hack. Others believe ChatGPT delivers soulless content and it should never be used. I think there is truth in both statements. You don’t want ChatGPT writing all your content. You would lose the voice of your station if you did. However, I think you and your staff’s time can be better spent on the big picture and creative endeavours rather than busy work — this is where ChatGPT can shine.

Playlist generation

It can take a lot of effort and time to source new music for your station’s playlists. Maybe you spend hours agonising over the vibe and feel of your playlists. Or maybe you pour over your social media accounts to source new releases. Playlist generation tools like Playlistable can help streamline this process for you.

I know that playlists can be a source of pride for many people. Being up to date with the latest and greatest in your favourite music scene can almost be a full time job. The fact that sourcing new music is so difficult and time consuming is a major reason to use AI.

There are many instances when AI playlist generators aren’t the best choice. In particular, when sourcing new music from niche genres or up and coming artists. AI tools probably don’t have the most up to date data to accurately portray a small genre or find out which artist went from 10K plays on Soundcloud to 100K. In these areas humans still come out on top.

However, AI playlist generation stands out when it comes to simple but repetitive tasks like finding music similar to this artist, creating playlists of highly anticipated new releases or creating playlists containing these three artists. These tools can even take a crack at creative endeavours like creating a playlist from a prompt. It may not do as good a job as you would, but it can give you ideas and get you on the right track quickly.

At the end of the day, you have full control over what you put into your playlists and play on your station. You don’t have to take what the playlist generation tool spits back at you as gospel but it can be an easy way to get inspiration and maybe come across some new tracks.

AI may never be the selector you are but it’s definitely faster.

AI mixing

This one is getting a bit controversial. There are now tools that will use AI to auto-mix a selection of tracks — just checkout DJ.Studio. DJs are rightly proud of their skills and the time and effort it took to get to the level they are at so AI mixes might be a bit confronting.

I don’t think most stations that feature DJs and mixes would be very comfortable running AI mixes but I think AI mixes can be very helpful to use in your playlist slots. An AI mix of a playlist gives you an easy way to freshen up a playlist and have much better transitions than you normally would.

I don’t think an AI mix stands up to a real DJ blending and chopping in response to real-time stimuli but it might be a fun way to breathe some fresh air into your playlist segments!

Conclusion

I think we have seen how AI tools for radio do exist and can help your station. You probably don’t want to rely on them to run your whole station but they can quickly speed up your daily tasks and even give you some new ideas.

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