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‘Tom’ Is New Weather Radio Voice

'Tom' Is New Weather Radio Voice

Now with the weather, here’s ‘Tom.’
The new computer-synthesized broadcast voice of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio reports uses the same technology as its predecessors, but is capable of reading with varying speed and intensity to convey the seriousness of an urgent weather warning if necessary.
“Tom” replaces “Craig” as the service’s automated voice for daily forecasts and weather advisories. The new text-to-speech computer voice is concatenated, meaning small bits of a real human voice are rearranged and put together to create new words.
“The new voice is much better than Craig and Donna ever were,” said Joanne Swanson, NWS meteorologist and a member of NOAA’s voice improvement program.
While “Craig” has been replaced, “Donna” has been upgraded and the NWS plans to keep her for now.
“Donna” and “Craig” replaced “Perfect Paul” in early 2002. NOAA introduced its first computer-driven voice in 1997 as part of a $13 million effort to automate the agency’s nationwide network of weather reports, forecasts and emergency weather alerts.
The latest voice upgrade, developed by Boston-based SpeechWorks International, made its debut on most of the 121 NOAA weather offices in July.

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