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ChatGPT comes for radio – The Verge

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That is Sizzling Pod, The Verge’s e-newsletter about podcasting and the audio trade. Sign up here for extra.

It’s been fairly gradual within the audio world for the previous few weeks — except when it comes to AI, which appears to be progressing at a clip. 

As we speak, ChatGPT involves radio, NPR staff put together for layoffs, and Spotify expands its audiobook enterprise.

Widespread layoffs anticipated this week at NPR

Final month, NPR CEO John Lansing introduced that the community would lay off 10 p.c of its workforce to cowl an anticipated $30 million price range shortfall this yr. That is the week final decisions are expected to come down, and staff are bracing for the cuts. Many have taken to Twitter to garner support for their colleagues, whereas others implored public radio followers to donate to their local stations

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“This week is heavy right here @NPR,” tweeted Morning Edition host Leila Fadel. “The layoffs change into actual and we’ll lose colleagues who work so onerous to placed on our programming on a regular basis. We don’t know who will go however we all know that everybody who’s right here now… we want them. Powerful days forward.”

NPR didn’t reply to Sizzling Pod’s request on the timing of the layoffs. I’ll have extra for Insiders later this week on the extent of the cuts.

RadioGPT makes it straightforward to interchange human DJs with bots

That’s very reassuring, given the state of radio. Axios Cleveland reports that native enterprise Futuri has launched a product referred to as RadioGPT, which may theoretically do a lot of the work of manning a radio station with out human labor. 

In response to the web site, it makes use of GPT-4-powered bots that may carry out interstitial chats in regards to the music lineup, native climate, and information and even area listener feedback and questions. RadioGPT may also do duties that might in any other case be the area of interns and entry-level staffers, like creating complimentary weblog posts, changing reside reveals into podcasts, and social media.

In contrast to the deeply wonky AI Radio, which I reported on last month, this isn’t only a enjoyable thought experiment. In response to Axios, the product will debut subsequent month with Alpha Media and Rogers Sports activities & Media, which characterize greater than 250 stations mixed throughout the US and Canada. 

Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig informed Axios that the product was meant to “save radio, not compete with it” by filling hours that stations can’t man anyway. “What we’re seeking to do is increase a station’s skill to fill its programming with extra reside and native content material,” he stated.

The best way Anstandig positions it’s that for a lot of radio stations, it’s AI or it’s nothing. That could be true in some {cases}, however the firms which have signed up to date aren’t precisely indies. It appears extra probably that radio firms may have the chance to make use of this instrument (or others prefer it) as a method to chop their labor power and cut back the already diminishing audio trade pipeline.

Most Enjoyable podcast community converts to a worker-owned cooperative

Most Enjoyable, the podcast community based by Bullseye host Jesse Thorn, is transitioning from a extra conventional company construction to a worker-owned cooperative (in the identical vein as Defector). Most Enjoyable’s two dozen staff will share possession of and decision-making energy over the corporate, which produces comedy and popular culture reveals like The Journey Zone and My Brother, My Brother and Me

“I didn’t construct this firm to be offered off to the very best bidder,” Thorn stated in a press release. “I constructed it to make nice stuff. I don’t belief large tech firms to steward this operation. I do belief the individuals who’ve constructed it with me.” 

It’s an uncommon transfer in a time when studios appear to be consolidated below giant firms. However Defector, with its megahit Normal Gossip and extremely revered sports activities and tradition journalism, has proven that such preparations can produce good work (and even be profitable!). With so many individuals laid off from the massive audio firms and creators’ elevated consciousness of the worth of proudly owning their work, I might not be stunned if we noticed extra smaller audio firms transfer on this course. Although, that might most likely look extra like Defector, which was based that solution to start with, than Most Enjoyable, by which the proprietor willingly provides up most of his stake.

Spotify expands audiobook vertical to Canada

Spotify should still be determining the future of its audiobook business, however within the meantime, the corporate is increasing the vertical’s footprint. As we speak, the corporate introduced that audiobooks will now be obtainable for buy in Canada. Spotify’s catalog contains greater than 350,000 titles to date and was beforehand solely obtainable within the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

That’s all for now. See you subsequent week.

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