German broadcaster Antenne Deutschland has launched what it claims is Europe’s first fully AI-powered radio station with service partner Radio.Cloud. The online-only station, Absolut Radio AI, joins Absolut Radio’s other brands in Germany, including seven other streams and six national DAB+ brands.
Absolut Radio AI targets 14–49-year-olds with a mix of pop and dance music from the last decade. It features an AI voice named kAI that speaks about the music and informs listeners about AI technology’s features, benefits and limitations. German-American company Radio.Cloud’s cloud-native automation system runs the entire station, including all AI-produced voice tracks, with its new feature Voicetrack.ai.
“We have been dealing with the topic of GenAI for a long time and have tried various solutions and techniques,” says Antenne Deutschland’s Managing Director, Mirko Drenger. “For voice cloning, music production and various marketing topics, we have always had a close working relationship with Radio.Cloud, so it made sense that we should work on the topic together. It wasn’t so important to be the first; it should just be good. That’s why we were able to go on air now.”
It’s not the case that the AI simply makes a program based on its own ideas.Radio.Cloud CEO and Founder, Christian Brenner
Information is key
Drenger adds that the company’s Voicetrack.ai module is fully integrated into the Radio.Cloud CMS and playout, making it intuitive for the stations to use. Radio.Cloud’s CEO and Founder Christian Brenner adds, “It’s not the case that the AI simply makes a program based on its own ideas — the program management is precisely specified by broadcast clocks and presets for each moderation break. This is a one-time job that runs according to rules and specifications. Radio.Cloud also provides thousands of prompts in the background.”
Program Director Tina Zacher explains, “Above all, we want our AI stream to reach the broad masses who have not yet had any contact with artificial intelligence. We have much more to do with the topic than other people, especially in our ‘media bubble’. And it is precisely to them that we would like to bring the topic closer. Because AI is not coming, AI is already here. Many respect it, maybe even fear it. We have maximum transparency and make it clear that Absolut Radio AI is moderated exclusively by artificial intelligence.”
For Antenne Deutschland and Radio.Cloud, informing the public is a key component of the project — it’s not just about creating an innovative radio station.
How it works
Brenner explains how it works: “A large part of the development work goes into the software part on our site, which sends the request to ChatGPT and checks and optimizes the answer again. In a way, we set some guidelines for ChatGPT and make specifications. A prompt to GPT initially contains a multi-page type of instructions. We also get a lot of information from databases and only let ChatGPT summarize it. That solved the problem of the sometimes-lively imagination. In fact, the platform does the workflow completely on its own. In the first few months, however, someone will always screen the texts again and can quickly cross-read them in a view that shows all the voice tracks of each day.”
AI does not make us superfluous; only more efficient, smarter and ensures quantity.Antenne Deutschland Managing Director, Mirko Drenger
Drenger makes it very clear using AI will not replace any current employees. “AI does not make us superfluous; only more efficient, smarter and ensures quantity. For such a station, you must write program-specific prompts — i.e., ChatGPT presets — develop your own logic and then develop it further. And in a young and modern company like Antenne Deutschland, there are many ideas, opportunities and enough to do.”
On the station’s only presenter, Zacher says that it is still, in some ways, an infant, “kAI is certainly not perfect at the beginning and will make one or two mistakes. The audience will hear a development over the next few weeks and months. I could imagine that we will soon provide kAI with a sidekick or that listeners could interact with him. Everything is possible.”
As for the station’s future, Drenger says that Absolut Radio AI will start online but that in the long term, anything is possible, including switching to DAB+.
Radio.Cloud will show off its AI technology and automation software at booth 8.D77 at IBC2023 in Amsterdam, Sept. 15–18.