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Techsurvey 2024: AI Is Here to Stay. Not Everyone Is Happy About It

Survey respondents express concern that the technology will replace live talent

The rise of artificial intelligence continues to be top-of-mind for many radio fans. Whether it is a desire to understand the legal ramifications of AI, frequent news of technological advancements meant to streamline operations or mixed feelings about the use of AI DJs, it’s clear the industry is taking note of what AI has to offer stations … or what resources need to be safeguarded for fear of being replaced.

In the 2024 Techsurvey from Jacobs Media, findings indicate that we might be overestimating the benefits of AI, and how it will impact radio and its listeners — at least for now.

In Part 2 of this series, we learned that most “core listeners” (aka survey respondents already part of a station’s email database) say radio personalities continue to play a big role in their listening habits. Today, we’ll learn more about “The 800 lb. Gorilla: Artificial Intelligence,” as Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media phrased it in his presentation last week.

This data set was compiled by 500 participating radio stations, yielding more than 31,000 surveys. Responses were collected between Jan. 9–Feb. 11 and used Nielsen’s 2023 market population data.

First, let’s talk usage.

Per its findings, Jacobs Media reports that 1 in 10 respondents said they use AI on a weekly basis, whether it be for work, school or personal uses. It’s no surprise that Gen Zs and Millennials lead the pack in this regard, with roughly 15% of respondents in that age group reporting using artificial intelligence each week.

However, although younger core listeners tend to use AI more than their older counterparts, findings also indicate a growing unease across all demographics about how fast the technology is advancing. On average, a whopping 71% of respondents said the rate at which AI is progressing is “very” or “somewhat” alarming.

Credit: Jacobs Media

Further, 51% of 2024 Techsurvey respondents said they are “very concerned” about AI’s potential to influence the upcoming elections. An additional 32% said they are “somewhat concerned.”

Another concern for core radio listeners is whether or not AI technology will be used in place of their favorite DJs and hosts. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they would have “major concerns” if a station they listened to used AI voice technology to replace live talent. However, only 39% expressed issue with AI being used to read commercials; and only 30% would take issue with AI being used to read station IDs.

Credit: Jacobs Media

Overall, most radio fans, no matter the format, expressed major concerns over AI voice technology taking the place of on-air talent.

“The data on AI is a warning from the audience,” Fred Jacobs said in a blog post breaking down the Techsurvey. “I expect their feelings may soften over time, but right now, it’s not an easy sell.”

[Related: “Techsurvey 2024: Show Hosts Are Radio’s Champions“]