Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Waymark Tech Provides “Instant, Affordable” Video Creative

But AI will still need the support and direction of a skilled human behind it

Tech startup Waymark developed a natural-language video creation platform on which “anyone who can type basic instructions” can produce ready-to-air commercials fit for TV, streaming and digital. 

Hayden Gilmer is vice president of revenue. He spoke with me for the Radio World ebook “Artificial Intelligence in Radio.”

Radio World: What would you say is the most important recent or current trend in AI for our industry?

Hayden Gilmer

Hayden Gilmer: Honestly, I think the most interesting trend is the larger shift away from talking about AI in theory and switching to talking about its application. In 2023, AI was everywhere — but not in any truly useful business sense.

We were just introduced to the idea of the technology and playing with what it could do; but very few really got a handle on how to make it a practical tool. 

We’re starting to see a healthier demand for practicality and reality — the AI tools that make it in radio will be things that fit into the industry as it exists today and solve existing problems. Most likely, AI will just be one component of a solution, not an end in and of itself. 

RW: Describe the use of AI in your products, what do they do and how do they do it?

Gilmer: Waymark uses generative AI as the core engine in our video creation platform. We have a proprietary system that allows us to generate a fully produced video ad for any business — using nothing more than a website URL — in seconds. 

We’ve developed a patented AI ensemble, composed of 13 models at work. They work together to handle all parts of the video production process: they search the business’ website for information, write a script, layer in relevant visuals, brand colors and logos, and then add audio and synthetic voiceover. 

Every aspect of our AI product is focused on empowering the humans behind the screen to produce at a scale that wasn’t possible before. Our AI abilities improve speed and reduce manual tasks along the way. 

RW: How will generative artificial intelligence tools change how radio managers and employees work?

Gilmer: From what we’ve seen, it will be a major capacity expander and an opportunity creator. 

In radio and the media industry as a whole, the ability to bring on new advertisers still remains a key focus. There are GenAI tools, even outside of Waymark, that support reducing administrative tasks so managers/employees can focus on higher impact work. Additionally, having the ability to support an advertiser’s request more quickly and more efficiently will open new opportunities. 

At its most advanced, GenAI enters creative arenas we previously thought of as solely the domain of humans: writing and visuals and audio. But at the end of the day, these are really just output tools that are great at making stuff really, really quickly — but the quality of what they make is entirely dependent on the people behind them.

Here’s an example. Our Head of Creative Stephen Parker has the eye and language to get visuals from GenAI tools that I wouldn’t even know how to begin to prompt for. AI hasn’t made it possible for me to do his job; it’s just made it possible for him to do his job that much faster.

I think we’ll see the same dynamic play out in the radio world. Utilizing any AI technology can be a huge advantage but will still need the support and direction of a skilled human behind it. You’ll still need audio engineers and hosts and production managers — you’ll just be able to give them another tool in their arsenal to cope with their ever-expanding jobs. 

RW: Is the potential impact of artificial intelligence in radio being overstated? Why or why not?

Gilmer: Yes and no. It’s no accident that radio has endured as a medium for so long; this industry’s ability to evolve and adapt to its business environment is unique. I think GenAI is just another inflection point to navigate. It’s going to represent a sea change in the way the radio world works, but has the potential to deliver impressive results. As the digital age and the world of video continues to grow, I see AI leveling the playing field for industries that have historically felt overpowered or outmanned.

RW: How is generative AI changing the way that radio salespeople work?

Gilmer: GenAI is a broad category, so I can’t speak to every iteration of it. I can tell you that from what I’ve seen up close with Waymark, it’s been a huge net positive for our partners because they’ve really incorporated it in a smart way. They don’t view it as a new way of doing business; they use our AI tech to complement their own strengths and bolster an existing approach as they embrace streaming and digital as future revenue channels. 

Local sales teams have really established trust-based relationships with their market. They’re not just ad sales reps — they’ve become marketing advisors through waves of change. They’re adapting as they always have to the rise of new media, and they’ve embraced our GenAI to bring cash-strapped small businesses into the fold with instant spec creative and affordable streaming ads. It’s a smart move, and has been a massive success for a lot of them. 

RW: Give an example of a broadcaster using your tech.

Gilmer: In radio, we’re working with names like Beasley, Morgan Murphy and Townsquare Media Group. They’ve all taken a clever approach with Waymark’s GenAI system. They give it to their sales and creative teams, who use it to bring more small businesses than ever before onboard with their advertising options. 

Because Waymark generates ads for them, the sales teams can make a spec ad for every single prospective advertiser on the spot. If a small local business signs with an entry-level buy, it has the added benefit of handling the final creative production as well, at an incredibly affordable price. 

The combination of ready-to-preview creative and bundled radio-and-streaming packages has proven to be very, very appealing to their local SMB markets, and it’s helping them to meet revenue goals in a tough advertising climate. 

RW: What other questions should we or radio managers and engineers be asking?

Gilmer: If there’s one universally applicable question for anyone to be asking about a GenAI solution, it’s “What existing problem is this solving for my team?” If you can’t draw a clear path between what it does and a business goal you already have, it’s one you can pass on. 

Read the free ebook “Artificial Intelligence in Radio.”

[Check Out More of Radio World’s Ebooks Here]