AI, Data, Voices And Big Names

 AI, Data, Voices And Big Names

Day One Recap

The ALL ACCESS AUDIO SUMMIT kicked off WEDNESDAY (4/26) with a full day of streaming sessions hosted by PREMIERE NETWORKS midday syndicated host ANGELA YEE.Hubbard’s Ginny Morris Chats With Joel DenverHUBBARD Chair/CEO GINNY MORRIS stressed her companies’ commitment to local control and community service in her opening fireside chat with ALL ACCESS Pres./Publisher JOEL DENVER. She expressed “wide-eyed optimism” about radio’s future, recognizing that listeners have other options for audio and that the dashboard is “evolving” but adding that she is “long-term” optimistic about radio.The conversation touched on AM on car radios (“I think we’re a long way from it disappearing from cars. You might see a lot of TESLAs where you live,” MORRIS told DENVER, “but you don’t see as many where I live”), HUBBARD’s experiment with a digital-first format at Sports KSTP-A (SKOR NORTH)/MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL (“it’s not yet profitable, but it’s gotten a lot closer”), competition with DSPs (MORRIS cited EDISON RESEARCH Share of Ear data that shows radio doing “quite well” in the competition and the promotion of personalities “earning their place in the lives of the listeners”), and why the successful female-talk format of KTMY (myTALK 107.1)/MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL hasn’t spread beyond the TWIN CITIES (“Because it’s expensive,” MORRIS noted, adding that the station took a decade to become profitable but is now highly successful).As for whether the company is a buyer or seller of stations, “at the moment,” MORRIS said, “we’re standing back.” And on HUBBARD’s foray into podcasting with a stake in PODCASTONE, MORRIS said, “it wasn’t our best financial investment but we sure learned a lot,” praising the late PODCASTONE founder NORM PATTIZ and adding that the lessons learned from working with him helped the company establish strong local podcasting ventures in its markets.After MORRIS’ interview, JACOBS MEDIA released the findings of TECHSURVEY 2023 in a morning session filled with data about core radio listeners; read about the findings here.Data Changes EverythingiHEARTMEDIA EVP/Global Music Marketing ALISSA POLLACK moderated a panel on how determining what songs are hits to be played on the radio has changed in the era of big data and TIKTOK. ROSS ON RADIO Editor SEAN ROSS noted that “we’ve gone from request lines and sales to streaming and TIKTOK and we’ve put it back in the hands of avid listeners, and I think that’s good and bad,” while iHEARTMEDIA VP/CHR and AC KIOI and Top 40/Rhythmic KYLD/SAN FRANCISCO PD MARK ADAMS noted that there have been “significant alterations to how business is done,” and it takes some time to catch up. With LONGBOARD INSIGHTS Pres. MIKE CASTELLUCCI citing the emergence of “more data points than ever before” to consider and 300/ELEKTRA EVP/Promotion-Streaming AIMIE VAUGHAN adding that”there’s so much to look out and it can be overwhelming” but “I think it’s great to have that much to look at,” ADAMS said that breaking artists and new music “boils down to curation” and radio’s trusted personalities. And CUMULUS MEDIA VP/Top 40 and Top 40/Rhythmic LOUIE DIAZ quoted SCOTT SHANNON as advising stations to “step out of the format on occasion.”AI And Other Digital StuffAUDACY SVP/Audio Content TIM CLARKE led a discussion of digital tools and technology for radio, featuring a panel including iHEARTMEDIA Pres./Programming Operations, Digital Music JON ZELLNER, ALL ACCESS Urban/R&B Editor SAM WEAVER, CHARTMETRIC CEO SUNG CHO, iHEARTMEDIA Dir./CHR Music Stations and PD of Top 40 KDWB/MINNEAPOLIS RICH DAVIS, and SMITH-RICHARDS COLLECTIVE Partner TIM RICHARDS, and the very first topic was the one on the lips of practically everyone in the business, artificial intelligence. ZELLNER contended that AI ” jeopardizes two of the four reasons radio will survive – discovery, surprise, trust, and companionship,” namely companionship and trust, and that AI can’t know if a song is a fit for a station’s overall sound. But WEAVER pointed out that AI needs human guidance in the same way that music scheduling software needs input from human PDs and MDs (“in the end, it still takes human beings to make the decisions”). RICHARDS suggested that while AI replacing human voices isn’t desirable at all times, using a synthetic version of a personality’s voice in an emergency when they’re not available may be a better option than using another voice.The panel also tackled the issue of AM radio in cars, with ZELLNER saying that stations with individual apps will be challenged on the dashboard and that while streaming will “level the playing field for AM radio,” migration is going to be slow. On the growing concern that streaming versions of stations might take ratings away from the broadcast signals, RICHARDS proclaimed that stations need to “meet the audience where they are.”Hearing VoicesFollowing the session, BENZTOWN announced the winners of the BENZTOWN 50 (NET NEWS 4/26) and the CHRIS CORLEY Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to EARL MANN, whose voice has been heard on NFL FILMS, CTV, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.”IMAGING HOUSE founder KELLY “K3” DOHERTY led a production panel with SIRIUSXM Producer ASHLEE PILGER and Dir./Creative Imaging BRYAN APPLE and DIGITAL ARTS Sr. Mixer/Sound Designer FRANK VERDEROSA, with the panelists offering examples of their work like VERDEROSA’s BUDWEISER DEREK JETER spot, APPLE discussing the challenge of creating appropriate imaging for TIKTOK RADIO, and PILGER offering examples of her work across several formats.The Art Of Music ProgrammingiHEARTMEDIA CHICAGO Regional SVP/Programming JAMES HOWARD joked that his questions as moderator of a panel of high-powered programmers were written by ChatGPT, but for the panel, billed as programmers’ “wish list” of tools, featured a wide range of topics, from advice on how to do the job (iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 KIIS/LOS ANGELES PD BEATA MURPHY urging programmers to “become best friends with your sales department” to suggest things that benefit the programming side while helping the AEs make money; HUBBARD RADIO EVP/Programming GREG STRASSELL advising “prioritize” and quoting the late STEVE RIVERS as noting, “great programmers always find a way”); finding talent (AUDACY VP/Urban Programming and Hip Hop WVEE (V103)/ATLANTA PD REGGIE ROUSE suggesting “social media, INSTAGRAM, the board op down the hallway”); research (GRAY COMMUNICATIONS Pres. TONY GRAY advising smaller stations without research budgets to keep an eye on MEDIABASE charts, while MURPHY urged, “stop watching the charts” because reliance on fluctuating charts can lead to “throwing away hit records”; COX MEDIA GROUP VP/Audience and Operations CHRIS EAGAN cited “nuances between cities and regions” that might not show up in national charts); and streaming (“It’s a piece of the puzzle,” MURPHY said, noting how streaming numbers led KIIS to try playing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and finding that the song ultimately tested well for the station).More To ComeALL ACCESS AUDIO SUMMIT 2023 will continue for two more days; find out more here. And it’s not too late to register – see the entire agenda and register here.

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