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“Alexa, play free bird!” »- Music, radio and the rise of smart speakers

As the popularity of smart speakers continues to grow, iHeart Media and Amazon have teamed up to try and make Alexa a little more interactive, and even DJ-like.

Guest post by Fred jacobs by Jacobs Media Strategies

Smart speakers continue to grow among major radio listeners, but without the momentum we saw just a few years ago.

Techsurvey 2021 recorded 35% possession of smart speakers. But as the “cume” of smart speakers appears to be leveling off, the number of such devices in homes and offices has increased. Today, more than six in ten of those who own a smart speaker have more than one.

Clearly, consumers are increasingly comfortable with smart speakers. But interactive technology seems to be slowing down. The development of “skills” was at its peak just five years ago, as brands sought to make Alexa and “Hey, Google” more interactive.

Today, not so much. But iHeart Media is trying to change that. Earlier in the week, they released an all-demand feature in beta on Amazon Alexa devices in four of their markets. The concept is that you can now use Alexa’s vocal AI to request a song or do an old-fashioned dedication. Alexa forwards them to participating stations where programmers / personalities take them from there.


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IHeart’s Chris Williams explains how it works in this under a minute video:

Fascinating, isn’t it?

But if iHeart and Amazon are dedicated to truly replicating the “DJ experience,” Alexa will need to respond to requests realistically. In order to match consumer interactions with radio station demand lines all these years, Alexa’s AI would need to be able to easily predict what the live DJ (if there is one) might say. .

I offer these representative answers that would make Alexa very real:

“I’ll try to do it for you.” “

“Coming immediately. “

“Sorry, I just played that.”

Or my favorite:

“I would love to play this for you, but our lame PD (Where consultant) habit leave us. “

I think a lot of you are thinking about your own ARR – Alexa Request Responses.

Technology is at its best when it simulates the way we operate in real life.

Alexa, see you at the Jock Lounge.

Fred jacobs: President & Founder at Jacobs Media.

Fred Jacobs founded Jacobs Media in 1983 and quickly rose to prominence for creating the Classic Rock radio format.

Jacobs Media has always walked in the digital space, providing information and advice through its well-read National Techsurveys.

In 2008, jacapps was launched – a mobile apps company that has designed and built over 1,300 apps for the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH conference was created – a radio and automotive mashup, designed to foster a better understanding of the “connected car” and its impact.

In addition to providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults with many clients of Jacobs Media’s commercial and public radio, as well as media brands looking to thrive in a rapidly changing technological environment.

Fred was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.


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