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One-in-Five Listeners Thinks They Hear AI On Air

Pair of media surveys from Futuri find general acceptance of AI tech among listeners

Futuri’s survey found a general willingness to accept AI-generated voices on air.

Around 21% of radio listeners think they’ve heard AI-generated content on the air. That’s just one of the findings in Futuri’s new “Audio Consumers’ Perception of AI” report.

The report is one of two new audience surveys released by Futuri in partnership with CMG Custom Research. The surveys explore the perceptions, expectations, and realities surrounding the use of AI in media today. Futuri offers AI-based tools for media companies and content creators.

The surveys found that audiences expect media companies will use AI — and many believe they are already hearing it on the air. They also believe AI an improve program content and are ready for AI-generated voice content, but they want to be informed when and how AI is being used.

In the audio consumer survey, 90% of respondents claimed a familiarity with AI, including 56% saying they had used AI tools. In general, those familiar with AI had a positive view of the technologies; however, non-users were more wary of AI. The familiarity with AI was similar for respondents to the news survey.

When thinking of the use of AI-generated voices, about a third (31%) said AI voices were more likely to make them listen; for a similar number of respondents, the use of AI voices have no effect on listening. However, 28% of respondents said it would make them less likely to listen. The willingness to hear AI-generated voices was greater for listeners to talk programming and podcasts than to who listen to music radio.

Respondents said they’d be more open to AI voices when there wasn’t currently an on-air personality, when a host was on vacation, or when the voice had not been heard before.

The study also tested listeners’ ability to detect the use of AI voices. About 60% of the time an AI voice was perceived as human or vice versa.

Nearly half of respondents for the news survey reported they thought they had heard AI-generated news stories read by human presenters on the air. 45% of respondents felt AI could help news outlets improve their story selection, and 54% thought it could improve weather forecasts.

Both surveys also noted that a large number of respondents listen to podcasts — 90% reported listening daily; 32% daily. Futuri identified repurposing on-air content as podcasts as a potential growth area for broadcasters.

The audio consumer survey was fielded in December 2023 and had 2,634 respondents. The news consumer survey was fielded in March 2024 and included 2,500 respondents.

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