Imagine you and I are having a philosophical conversation about the wisdom of brand building for radio, and I laid this piece of advice on you:
“Remember, building a great radio station brand takes time, effort, and a commitment to excellence, but the rewards are well worth it.”
Well, you'd probably think this veteran consultant was giving you a sensible bit of wisdom from his vast experience consulting radio stations. Except I didn't say it. Nor did Mike McVay or Val Geller or any other radio station consultant.
In fact, it was the conclusion from a bot – a piece of code – ChatGPT, to be exact.
We're talked a lot already this year about AI, chatbots, and specifically, the marvel of ChatGPT, the incredible software that represents some of the best technology we've seen to date. Seth wrote a great blog earlier this month that included several pieces of sample copy the algorithm wrote. And I wrote a post a couple weeks back about this technology, and Microsoft's steep investment in this blossoming space.
This app is pretty smart, essentially able to review mass amounts of online information in a split-second. It categorizes and retains that information and translates it into human speech in remarkable time. If you've become frustrated trying to get Alexa or Google Home to understand your questions and answer them accurately, you'll find ChatGPT is an amazingly different experience.
And it's growth is astonishing. Statista recently published the chat below, showing how long it took popular platforms to reach one million users, downloads, etc. ChatGPT is in a class by itself.
And users are rapidly figuring out interesting ways to put ChatGPT to the test.
Last week, I happened across the PRPD Facebook Group where a conversation broke out about ChatGPT's capabilities. Former general manager and all-around brilliant observer of Public Radio, Tim Eby, found an example of ChatGPT writing pledge break copy. The result is below:
Now, of course, every Public Radio wordsmith and grammarian went nuts on this copy. And as many point out, it gets no better than a “C” grade. Most in Public Radio do a better job than this.
But then again, I've heard much lamer appeals for donations. And as PRPD CEO Abby Goldstein pointed out, if it works and raised money, it could become a system standard.
It's also worth mentioning that today is the worst this technology will ever be. It gets smarter with each passing minute, with each question, with more input from us.
I would encourage you to visit the OpenAI website, register, and start asking the bot some questions. Many experts believe you'll have to pay a fee for ChatGPT perhaps soon, so play with it for free while you can. You might surprise yourself by just how sophisticated it is. That was my experience when I asked it how to get better radio ratings. I've heard consultants offer much worse advice:
Pretty fundamentally sound, don't you think? Maybe for radio pros there's nothing especially new here. But for people considering investing in the industry, joining a board, or perhaps thinking about a career in radio from another line of work, you could do a lot worse to follow these eight steps.
So, I refined my search, and asked ChatGPT what it might require in order to build a great radio brand:
Again, a very sensible punch list from a piece of software. And perhaps for a consultant, operations manager, or group PD, a great starting point. ChatGPT missed a few things I'd put on my list – audience research and personalities, for example. But much of the rest of this is sound, smart, and quite thorough.
Wherever your inspiration and creativity come from, you have to be adaptable. AI applications like ChatGPT likely won't replace us, but they may very well end up writing first drafts of promos, pledge breaks, commercial copy, morning show benchmark bits, and yes, blogs.
Even the most creative among us get writer's block now and again. It is easy to envision how AI tools like ChatGPT will give us kernels of ideas we can you to get back in the game.
The way I look at it, in 2023, we'll take all the intelligence we can get – artificial or not. Plus, even if you lament this innovation or wish to rebel against it, my consulting advice to you is that the toothpaste is out of the tube. Let's figure out the best, most constructive, and most productive ways to use it.
And you never know. My version of Artificial Intelligence – ChatFNJ – could become the next big thing in AI – and in radio.
Go ahead, ask me anything.
A big thank-you to Keith Cunningham who's asking ChatGPT lots of questions.
- An Open (News)Letter To Radio - December 6, 2023
- The Case For Handcrafted Radio - December 5, 2023
- Is It Time For The Music Industry To Write Radio A “Dear Genre” Letter? - December 4, 2023