Here’s one way to solve the issue of how to staff HD multicast channels: with something that doesn’t need to be paid or take time off, or even leave the studio for bathroom breaks.
Meet “Denise,” an artificial intelligence DJ who could be the next-gen of voice-tracking. The software program debuts Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. Central on the HD2 channel of KROV(FM), San Antonio, Texas.
Listeners can hear the program using the station’s stream or on an HD Radio receiver. Guile Lindroth and Guile 3D Studios developed the program to perform as a virtual assistant and help humans to do things like answer a land line phone,search the Web, check email, schedule appointments and run computer applications by voice.
“Denise” comes with a proprietary graphic engine, an English text-to-speech voice and a voice recognition engine. The program can “learn” the more the program interacts with you, the developer claims. The company characterizes Denise’ English as “natural,” as if you were “talking to a real person.” Lots of people in radio will be interested to hear if that’s the case.
Texas air personality Dominique Garcia says he learned about the roughly $200 computer software this year and approached KRON about using it. KRON is the HD2 channel of Trinity University’s KRTU, which is leased by San Antonio Community Radio.
They agreed, and he began adapting and customizing Denise for voice-tracking, he explains in a blog written for the San Antonio News-Express.
He states he showed the program to some colleagues, who were not amused by the thought of being replaced by a computer-generated voice. But Garcia believes the concept can “save radio companies millions of dollars.”
“Another plus to having an artificially intelligent employee is that she can be accessed remotely,” according to Garcia, who adds, “A station program director does not have to physically be in front of the computer where Denise is installed to alter her. Ideal if a situation arises where something needs to be changed. The human can use the program Skype to stay in touch with Denise from anywhere in the world.”
To those who oppose the idea, Garcia says Denise is another form of automation. He does admit Denise can sound robotic at times and that Guile has told him the developer is working on “several voice replacements,” including male voices.
(The eyes of the “virtual assistant” on the lower left of the 3D homepage follow your computer mouse.)