On Tuesday, KBFF, Live 95.5 introduced its audience to “AI Ashley,” a cloned version of the station’s midday host named Ashley Elzinga. The voice sounds almost identical to Elzinga, and will be broadcast to listeners every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m, TechCrunch reported.
“It’s AI Ashley calling our first Taylor Swift winner,” the cloned voice said as the station dialed up one lucky listener.
The station uses Futuri Media’s RadioGPT tool, which is powered by GPT-4, to create a script based on current news gathered from digital outlets and social media platforms for AI Ashley to read. However, execs of Live 95.5’s parent company say that “traditional Ashley” isn’t being totally replaced.
Although the station asserts it’s the “world’s first radio station with an AI DJ,” it’s unclear whether this has been attempted before. Live 95.5 did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“It’s a hybrid situation where we’ll have traditional Ashley on during some segments, and we’ll have AI Ashley on during other segments,” Phil Becker, Alpha Media EVP of Content, told TechCrunch. Alpha Media owns or operates more than 200 radio stations across the US, including Portland’s Live 95.5.
Twitter users expressed their concerns over AI’s role in the future job market following the announcement. Some claimed the move “totally disrespected” radio hosts, but others praised Live 95.5 for finding ways to put out consistent content for its audience.
According to TechCrunch, the station has already planned out ways Elzinga and AI Ashley can both contribute to Live 95.5.
“In an instance where AI Ashley would be broadcasting, the traditional Ashley might be doing something in the community, managing social posts or working on digital assets or the other elements that come with the job,” Becker said.
Media giant iHeartMedia surprised local radio stations by laying off staff members in 2020, and began investing in AI. The tech is also rapidly changing the music industry, with startups creating new tools for recording and even for writing lyrics.