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Don’t Let AI Rob Us of What’s Important

We don’t want a totally fake world where we can’t trust one another

Are IP-based broadcast technologies “clouding” our judgment? 

The fad promises Arpège but gets us skunk. Radio management is often quick to toss out the old model of on-site hardware (along with its hosts, journalists, salespeople and support techs) as a cool money-saving tactic. But what happens if (and, increasingly, when) some online demon hijacks it, leaving a station crippled and embarrassed? 

A good example is the Sinclair/WRGB data breach mess-up in February of 2022, which lost ad placements and undoubtedly damaged the viewers’ experience.

A relentless pursuit of media consolidation began in earnest some years ago when FCC ownership limits were abolished, allowing creation of fewer and fatter 2,000-pound gorillas, corporate behemoths that stripped countless markets of their diverse, unique and independent voices. 

The AI craze seems to be only worsening this trend, with thousands more workers at risk of losing their jobs as fake “personalities” begin to deceive their “audiences” with cleverly designed tactics. Will the AI trend risk a complete takeover of the media by unfeeling software that may have an underlying evil agenda? 

I propose a new product to combat this called “ListenIP.” It creates “virtual audiences” with a feature nicknamed “AL” for “artificial listener.” It is tailored to fool owners, complicit advertisers and ratings services into thinking these stations are really popular.

One tool in this package, “PHON-e,” will be optimized for talk formats that depend on callers to support their boring, repetitive sports and political content. 

Just imagine: YOUR station can be top-rated while having NO actual listeners!

Are we to live eventually in a totally fake world where we cannot trust each other? It’s bad enough that most advertising offers are already misleading.

A wise man once said, “Many a promise is screamed from the rooftops, but truth always lies in the whispers.” How many times have you really read the “fine print” that reveals any “gotchas”? Honesty is based on truth; greed is rooted in deceit. Which do you prefer?

There’s an old truism: You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

As a child, I was fascinated by the diversity of voices and music I heard on my first love, a little Emerson table radio. I still recall visiting local stations and marveling at the personalities and the equipment that made it all possible; it cemented my desire to become part of a wonderful profession. 

I learned so much as an AM station engineer and DJ and as a tech consultant for another small daytimer, and I missed those experiences after moving to the television side. But I’d found my life’s purpose, and I’ll be forever grateful that I pursued it. It led to my passion for church media ministry and other projects. Alas, those “radio days” are gone, but one never really forgets their first love.

What matters is honesty and truth, and I think AI is leading us away from those. 

I recall an obscure 1975 song called “Turn Your Radio On!” by singer Ray Stevens, which suggests WE are all “radios” that need to be tuned to only the ONE valid “station”:

Turn your radio on…and listen to the music in the air;

Turn your radio on…and glory share.

Turn your lights down low, and listen to the Master’s Radio…

Get in touch with God…Turn your radio on!” 

(Lyrics by Albert E. Brumley, Sr.)

Where is your “radio” tuned?

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