Tag Archives: artificial intelligence

Three Takeaways from Podcast Movement Evolutions

Podcast Movement Evolutions is an offshoot of the original Podcast Movement conference, the largest annual gathering of podcasters in the world. When first launched, Evolutions was more geared towards podcast creators, rather than the more industry professional-focused older sibling version. But, much like the medium itself, Spring’s Podcast Movement Evolutions, which took place last week in Los Angeles, has matured into an event nearly unrecognizable from Summer’s Podcast Movement.

Here are three takeaways from this year’s Podcast Movement Evolutions.

  1. YouTube, YouTube…how I love (hate) thee….

Ask consumers which platform they use the most for podcasts, as we did in our New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube study with Amplifi Media last August, and they will tell you YouTube, as the company shared in their Podcast Movement Evolutions keynote session Friday morning. Ask podcasters what they think of podcasting on YouTube, and well…it’s complicated.

There is one thing nearly every podcaster will agree on, and that’s YouTube’s massive value as a podcast promotional tool. Using trailers and clips on YouTube to market your podcast (as well as short-form platforms like Shorts, TikTok, and Reels) has been a tangible boon for many shows. Whether organic or paid (or a combination), YouTube has undeniable value for podcast discovery.

Where creators have far less consensus is regarding YouTube’s value for hosting entire podcast episodes. The frustration generally lies in YouTube’s methodology. Although, according to Podnews editor James Cridland in his annual podcasting report card, creators give YouTube high marks for its analytics, many are frustrated with its independent advertising ecosystem and lack of communication.

To paraphrase Audacy’s Head of Podcasts Jenna Weiss-Berman, “Half of me is in on YouTube and its role in the future of podcasting. The other half says they need to play in the same sandbox.”

YouTube is too important and valuable to the industry and used by consumers to be cast aside. It’s also fair to lay the burden on Google to adapt to the needs of the creator. (see: Spotify abandoning its “exclusive” platform model with Joe Rogan and other Spotify shows).

YouTube’s podcasting team shared some upcoming initiatives that address this. They also claimed they are working on more podcast-friendly algorithms to recommend more targeted content to the consumer For example, wouldn’t it be nice if when you play a podcast episode on YouTube, it recommends other episodes from that creator and similar podcasts rather than a slew of seemingly random videos from the YouTube galaxy? YouTube and its creators should be transparent, honest, and must work together to figure out the best way forward.

  1. Engagement is YouTube’s secret sauce

Consumers love the ability to comment on YouTube videos (and podcasts). Spotify’s Q&A feature now allows hosts to ask questions of their listeners, which can be sent to the creator privately, and creators can choose which comments to feature on the platform. Meanwhile, Apple, the third of the “Big 3” (with YouTube and Spotify), remains a one-way street.

On the surface, Apple adding listener engagement would be a big deal. But as Spotify surely knows from its video podcast initiative, (wait, Spotify has video podcasts? Yep…) just because you offer it doesn’t mean consumers will somehow magically find it, learn about it, or even want it from your brand.

So yes, if Apple were to add listener engagement, it would be interesting. But it doesn’t automatically mean it would be successful.

  1. We are legally obligated to mention AI in any conversation about podcasting

Last August, when Steve Goldstein and I presented that YouTube study in Denver, we had a conversation backstage before the keynote when we remarked, “Whoever figures out an easy podcast video service will do very well.” In a massively short period, Artificial Intelligence has swooped in to do just that. There are companies like Rizzle, which offer “no edit videos.” Or Audiencelift (formerly Trailergram), which encourages you to upload your podcast trailer and uses your preferred targeting location, Apple Podcasts category, and keywords from your ad description to show your podcast’s ad to new listeners.

Our friends at Blubrry, one of the original podcast hosting platforms, are at the forefront of differentiation and innovation, adding an AI assistant to help with promotion tools and highlight clip creation, and Vid2Pod, which plays the YouTube game in reverse…pulling in your YouTube playlist for universal audio distribution.

What a time to be alive.

But, as Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane told me, “We still need to hear from real, authentic humans.”

This is both podcasting’s golden opportunity and the greatest obstacle in its next phase of growth. The industry should embrace new tools to spark more efficient and effective solutions. But it must also remember that authenticity is its greatest asset. Podcasters should want AI to help them be more efficient, but podcast consumers do not need AI to augment what they love about their favorite shows and hosts.

And finally, I’ll go back to what Todd says about hearing from those real live humans. Conducting real perceptual research with real podcast consumers is not a luxury. It is a necessity to grow brands and elevate this medium we love.

How ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence May Impact Media

If you haven’t yet heard about ChatGPT, let me be the first to let you in on the little tool creating all the buzz. Or…is this ChatGPT that’s telling you about all the buzz right now because I’m not actually writing this? Once you learn more about ChatGPT in this blog, that will make more sense to you and you can decide for yourself.

One thing is for certain. ChatGPT has wildly positive or negative implications for just about everyone on the planet.

How’s that for a teaser?

ChatGPT is a chatbot powered by Artificial Intelligence. How you feel about AI will likely drive your initial thoughts on the product. My son Ryan is taking a coding class at Columbia and completed an assignment over the weekend. Just for fun, after he finished his coding, he gave the same assignment to the ChatGPT bot.

It completed it correctly in 2.3 seconds.

The same task took Ryan six or seven hours.

Ryan went to his professor and showed both versions of his work, which inspired a lengthy discussion in class.

Imagine the implications of this thing on the teaching profession alone.

Right now, ChatGPT is offering the bot to try for free to show what it can do. Is it like Google or Alexa? In that it can prepare a custom shopping list and explain Newton’s laws of motion, sure. But if you ask Google or Alexa to write your term paper on US History in a sarcastic tone, and then ask it to expand on the Civil War parts and provide an alternate viewpoint, you won’t have something ready to turn in to a college professor. But with ChatGPT, you could.

So…how about the way media brands may use ChatGPT?

I asked the bot, “Write me a news report about the hottest new trends” and here’s what it wrote:

The hottest new trends for the season are starting to take shape, and there’s something for everyone.

In fashion, sustainability and comfort continue to be major themes. Brands are increasingly offering eco-friendly options, such as clothing made from recycled materials or natural fibers. Comfortable and practical clothing, such as loungewear and athleisure, are also gaining popularity as more people work from home.

In the beauty industry, natural and minimalistic looks are on the rise. This includes a focus on skincare and using fewer, but higher quality, products. The “no makeup” makeup look, which emphasizes a natural and youthful appearance, is also becoming more popular.

In terms of technology, virtual and augmented reality are gaining traction. Virtual reality headsets are becoming more affordable and accessible, allowing users to experience immersive entertainment and educational content. Augmented reality, which overlays digital information onto the real world, is being used in a variety of applications, from gaming to interior design.

Overall, these trends reflect a desire for more practical, sustainable, and natural products and experiences.

I asked the bot if it could make it longer.

“Sure, here is a longer version”

As we enter the new year, it’s time to take a look at the hottest trends that are shaping up for the season. From fashion and beauty to technology and entertainment, there’s something for everyone.

One of the biggest trends in fashion is the focus on sustainability and comfort. With more people working from home and looking for clothing that is practical and easy to wear, brands are offering more options in the loungewear and athleisure categories. In addition, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly clothing made from recycled materials or natural fibers, as consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their fashion choices.

In the beauty industry, the minimalistic and natural look is becoming more popular. This includes a focus on skincare, with people using fewer, but higher quality, products to achieve a healthy and radiant complexion. The “no makeup” makeup look, which emphasizes a natural and youthful appearance, is also gaining traction. This trend reflects a desire for a more natural and low-maintenance beauty routine.

Technology is also seeing some exciting new developments. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming more mainstream, with VR headsets becoming more affordable and accessible. VR allows users to experience immersive entertainment and educational content, while AR overlays digital information onto the real world, offering a variety of applications, from gaming to interior design.

In the entertainment world, streaming services are continuing to dominate, with new content being released all the time. However, there is also a trend towards more interactive and social experiences, such as live-streamed concerts and virtual reality gaming.

Overall, these trends reflect a desire for more practical, sustainable, and natural products and experiences. Whether you’re looking to update your wardrobe, improve your beauty routine, or try out the latest tech, there are plenty of exciting options to choose from.

How long would it take someone in the newsroom to write this? (It took ChatGPT about five seconds).

There are already options to use AI for the narration, which will continue to improve.

As an aside, when I asked ChatGPT to write me a news report about Volodymyr Zelenskky, it glossed over the war with Russia and focused on peace talks. When I asked it to write a news report about Taylor Swift, it wrote about the release of Evermore, not her latest album. So, it’s certainly a work in progress.

Taylor Swift news

ChatGPT’s usefulness is a work in progress, as it referenced outdated Taylor Swift information when writing a news story. (Credit: Brian Friedman, Shutterstock)

Sounds Profitable’s Tom Webster wrote a piece on ChatGPT, positing how, despite the fears of AI replacing human jobs and the work they do, tools like ChatGPT can play an important role in helping humans do their work better.

Generally, I buy that. There are pretty cool implications for amplifying search for life hacks. Instead of Googling the generic “Questions to ask in a job interview,” I asked ChatGPT “What are good questions to ask an interviewer for a TV anchor job?”

Its response was impressively focused on the position:

  • Can you tell me more about the specific responsibilities and expectations for this position?
  • What is the company’s vision for this role, and how does it fit into the overall goals of the organization?
  • Can you provide more details about the team I would be working with and the support that would be available to me in this position?
  • What opportunities for professional development and growth are available for anchors at this company?
  • Can you tell me about the typical work schedule for anchors at this company?
  • What is the company’s approach to news coverage and storytelling, and how does this position fit into that approach?
  • How does this company support anchors in maintaining a work-life balance and managing the demands of this job?
  • Can you provide more information about the equipment and technology that anchors at this company use to produce their segments?
  • How does this company support anchors in staying current with industry trends and developments?
  • Can you tell me more about the opportunities for on-air and off-air collaboration with other members of the news team?

When we consider how it will change jobs in media, you can imagine how it could speed up show prep, help write commercial copy, and yes, write news stories.

But what we can never lose sight of is the personal human touch that can only come from a human’s tone of voice.

I asked ChatGPT to write a blog in the tone of Sam Milkman, and it told me “As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I don’t have the ability to write in the specific style of a specific person.”


AI tools like ChatGPT will disrupt our world. They will make your job easier in some ways, but have the potential to make us lazy and miss our very specific individual voices and attitude. So perhaps we should use it as a tool, but not the tool.

Back to the original question posed at the top of this blog. Did I even write it? Or did ChatGPT?

The answer: I did. I don’t think ChatGPT has the ability to write like someone on my level – ha ha.

At least, not yet.

Artificial Intelligence Is Coming for the Audio Industry

Recently, I was targeted on Facebook with an ad for a company called Speechelo.

Considering I actually do voiceovers part-time, I’m going to guess that’s why the algorithm chose me. Though, based on the content of the ad, I’d have to conclude their targeting misfired. (I may or may not be one of the angry faces among the 5.3K reactions.)

It’s not the first time the voiceover industry has been attacked with low-rent solutions. Head on over to Fiverr, for example, and you’ll find people happy to record some lines for you for a few bucks.

But this ad didn’t catch my attention because it saves you money. No, I think it was “Create Human-Sounding Voiceovers with 3 Clicks.”

The website boasts that you can have access to over 30 human-sounding voices in 23 languages for a one-time fee of $47. It claims you can paste your copy, select a voice, then change the pitch, emphasize words, add inflections, then simply click and generate your voiceover. It boasts integration with recording software including Premiere Pro and Audacity.

Not surprisingly, Speechelo isn’t the only game in town.

WellSaid Labs just raised $10 million for their AI “synthetic voice” business. You want a synthetic voice to match the cadence of yours? WellSaid can create “AI Voice Avatars.” The article envisions the technology being used for “engaging in complex real-time interactions with consumers, and reading scripts on computer-generated news programs.”

WellSaid Labs

WellSaid Labs just raised $10 million for their synthetic voice business


So it starts with simple voiceovers. Segments like e-learning are a no-brainer transition; you can easily see companies using these voices for things like online courses or company onboarding. But it sounds like many folks in customer service should pay attention to the line “complex real-time interactions with consumers.” And news anchors should heed “reading scripts on computer-generated news programs.”

Like it or not (and I’ll bet many of our readers don’t like,) artificial intelligence is coming for the audio industry. Imagine how this technology could transform local radio commercial production, and maybe it’s not all bad. Production directors no longer chasing down jocks after their shift to voice spots they didn’t want to do anyway. Using the avatar feature for clients that want to be in the spot but have trouble getting through a script.

But admittedly, it can be challenging to find bright spots.

There are those who will say, “What I do can’t be replaced by automation,” and that will be true for many. For others, it won’t be. Voice AI will improve over the coming years, and it will improve dramatically. The reasons why certain audio talent is irreplaceable is the same as it’s always been. Great talent generates unique, compelling content that emotionally connects with an audience.

AI can’t do that. At least not yet.