We knew this was coming… and it has kind of worried me for the past 5 years… and it should worry you too if you are a Copywriter in radio.
I read on Radio Online on Friday the article “Radio Workflow Introduces AI-Powered Tools for Stations” and watched the video below and read the info on the RADIO WORKFLOW website (click on both those links to see what I am talking about).
With Radio Workflow launching the ‘Write My Ad’ and ‘Fix My Ad’ tools, and on Monday last week someone giving me a script that had been written by CHATGPT (which was absolutley terrible by the way) I can see that the future of radio copywriters might be in jeopardy.
Especially as we seem to have little or no representation or curation of our industry from the top down.
Now I know that is a big statement to make – but the fact is that the latest advancements in AI technology will only get better, and although these tools are meant to be helpful and will allow a sales rep to ‘create and edit ad copy with increased efficiency and precision, allowing them to focus on other important aspects of their business’ So where is our protection?
The industry is quick to jump up and down to try to stop centralization (something that I still see on a daily basis around the world for on-air shifts) and on AI style voices (also known as deepfake AI voices – such as Veritone, and Voicebooking) being used for commercials and also on-air talent – and the industry as a whole has done well to combat the intrusiveness of news services such as Google (here in Australia at least – read the CODE here), but now we have hit the copywriters in the industry – I see little or no push back from our leadership about our roles.
Why should they I hear you ask… it will save stations money in the long run – and if that is your only concern – then that is very short sighted, let me explain.
From my personal experience and perspective the problems are 10 fold:
1. The AI has no knowledge of state or federal laws affecting advertising rules and regulations and they change on a regular basis. (I have written for Canada, several states in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the UK , Germany and Norway, Switzerland and Denmark – having to be across all of those laws, rules and regulations can be a killer).
2. No creative copy being generated – it’s all cookie cutter bland shopping list style ads (at least from what I have seen) that uses popular words and phrases, so all ads have a high possibility of sounding like each other. In Radio CREATIVITY is king!
3. The AI will not write in the voice of the station – if you have a station style that is, and again, all ads will sound the same – leaving it up to production to produce a spot that sounds ‘different’ yet usable on the station.
4. The AI will not write in the voice that you would normally be writing for (or allow for the voice style, speech and rhythms of the voice talent – be it client or professional voice talent)
5. The Ai may be fast, but fast – is not always good – good scripts take time to develop, massage and create an image in the listeners mind.
6. The scripts I have seen do not, and would not EVER leave a lasting impression, and make listeners act on the product or service being offered. In fact they are quite bland and boring.
7. The claim of compelling copy being generated is based on using the correct phrases and words, not in a message that makes any sense, allows for word play, alliteration, descriptive imagery, and uses imagination (that’s the old ‘theatre of the mind’) to sell.
8. I love the thoughts behind the claim that, with the AI “stations can save time and resources, allowing them to focus on other important aspects of their business”, so copywriters only do that one thing do we?
9. The loosely structured sentences may read well enough on paper, but when spoken out loud – often fall flat. Therefore the ad copy generated truly lacks substance.
10. Will the AI be able to answer key client requests to include a message – and be able to edit and make decisions about what to keep in and what to drop to achieve the goals of the client.
These 10 problems are only just the start of issues I have with using AI Chatbot style tools.
The statement from Radio Workflow CEO Fletcher Ford. “With Write My Ad and Fix My Ad, radio stations can now create high-quality ad copy with increased efficiency and precision in seconds. We believe these tools will make a significant impact on the industry.”
That impact, as far as I can see is to create an industry that has no creativity, no copywriters, no regard for local, state and federal laws for advertising and in the end, an industry with less listeners, and less revenue.
Other people have covered this topic too – don’t just trust what I say on it…
EMILY M. REIGART at RADIOWORLD did a great article on this – read that HERE – it was originally published in 2018, and was updated in 2020, and I think it needs another update to take in the changing landscape. A couple of days ago, RADIOWORLD did story on CHATGPT – read that HERE.
DIMENSIONS CONNECT have a post that is worth reading, titled ‘Will AI take over human-generated content in 2023‘ and it raises some good issues.
 And an article from Peter Saxon on RADIO INFO – How AI will destroy bad news – from earlier this month.
So what is next for us?
I honestly feel we have only just scratched the surface on this topic and it may become an on-going rant – so what can we do as Copywriters?
Three things you could do today, right now:
- Talk to your management about this situation with AI Bots and seek reassurance that your job is safe
- Talk to your sales team – reassure them that what you do is far better than what a bot could do – especially when it comes to persuasive creative, phycological triggers and ticking those all important boxes when dealing with clients – that you do so well.
- Email your countries radio governing body and express your dislike for this (eg: Commercial Radio Australia, NAB, etc). Ask the question… are they going to do anything to represent Radio Copywriters now, and in the future – we are the backbone of radio advertising, without us all radio ads will all sound the same, and listeners will switch off, and there will be less revenue in the long run.
This post was written by a HUMAN, not a AI-BOT – and is my opinion and thoughts on AI bots, the downfall of society, and the collapse of civilization… and the eventual takeover by our robot overlords.