There’s been a lot of chat about artificial intelligence (AI) in the podcasting industry recently. In most industries, in fact. Since the launch of ChatGPT – an insanely sophisticated AI chatbot that’s generating buzz and fear in equal measures – everyone’s got something to say about it.
Our friend Tom Webster took a deep dive into the subject recently for Sounds Profitable, and Jeremy Emms (who will be speaking at the Indypod Summit in February, FYI) has even created a platform for ‘Soulless’ AI-generated podcast marketing advice.
It’s easy for any discussions about AI to spiral: Are the machines about to take over? Are podcasters soon going to be out of a job when the robots expropriate the airwaves?
But rather than worry about what AI chatbots like ChatGPT mean for the future of humanity, how can we take advantage of incredible AI tools like this to improve our podcasts?
What Is AI in Podcasting?
So, first of all, let’s clarify exactly what we mean when we talk about AI in the podcasting industry.
In this case, it seems appropriate to ask an AI chatbot, ChatGPT:
“In the context of podcasting, artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the use of computer algorithms and machine learning techniques to automate certain tasks or processes related to creating, distributing, and analyzing podcasts.”
Not bad, right?
AI in podcasting can take a whole load of different forms, and to be honest, it’s likely you’re already using AI with your podcast.
For example, do you ever use voice recognition tools like Siri in your podcast creation process? That’s powered by AI. Do you turn on subtitles when you publish a video podcast on YouTube or share a clip of your podcast on Tiktok? That’s AI converting speech into text. And if you tag your shows on podcast hosting platforms, you can thank an AI algorithm for helping the right listeners find you.
But as AI technology gets more sophisticated, it’s able to do much more for us. With new tools like chatGPT coming onto the market, you can now ask a computer to script a full podcast episode for you. Then there’s AI text-to-voice software like Play.ht which can bring it to life in audio format. A recent famous example of this was an AI-generated episode simulating Joe Rogan chatting to Steve Jobs.
What Does an AI-Generated Podcast Look Like?
We’ve played around a lot with ChatGPT in the last few days (warning: it’s addictive) and have been impressed with the kind of content it’s able to generate.
Here’s a script I just generated to demonstrate the level of sophistication of this tool.
We asked: ‘Write me a script for a podcast about UFO sightings in Scotland’
“Intro music plays.
Announcer: Welcome to “The Scottish Skies,” a podcast exploring the mysteries and phenomena of the skies above Scotland.
Host: Hello and welcome to our show. Today, we will be discussing the topic of UFO sightings in Scotland. Have you ever looked up at the night sky and seen something strange and unexplained? Well, you’re not alone. Scotland has a rich history of UFO sightings and encounters, and we’ll be diving into some of the most well-known and intriguing cases today.
Guest expert: Hi, I’m Dr. [Expert’s name], a UFO researcher and paranormal investigator. I’m here to provide some insight and analysis on some of the most famous UFO sightings in Scotland.
Host: Dr. [Expert’s name], thanks for joining us. So, let’s start with one of the most well-known UFO sightings in Scotland: the Largs incident. Can you tell us a bit about what happened there?
Guest expert: Sure. The Largs incident occurred in 1979 and involved the sighting of a large, triangular-shaped object hovering above the town of Largs in North Ayrshire. Several witnesses reported seeing the object and some even reported experiencing strange effects, such as a feeling of numbness and difficulty speaking. The incident received widespread media attention and remains one of the most well-known UFO sightings in Scotland to this day.
Host: That sounds fascinating. What do you think could have caused the Largs incident?
Guest expert: It’s difficult to say for sure what caused the Largs incident, as there is limited evidence to go on. Some people believe that it could have been a military aircraft or a weather balloon, while others think it could have been an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Without more concrete evidence, it’s hard to say for certain what the explanation might be.
Host: Thanks for sharing your insights, Dr. [Expert’s name]. It’s certainly interesting to consider the various possibilities and theories surrounding these UFO sightings in Scotland.
Announcer: Thanks for tuning in to “The Scottish Skies” podcast. Join us next time as we continue to explore the mysteries and phenomena of the skies above Scotland.
Outro music plays.”
I’m sure you’ll agree that the script isn’t the most inspiring – it’s flat, predictable and (unsurprisingly) a little robotic. But it does create a blueprint that I could easily use to kickstart a podcast episode on this exact topic.
Which takes us nicely onto the next section…
4 Ways You Can Use AI in Your Podcast Creation
Let’s be clear about something – asking a chatbot to take over writing your podcast scripts is not a good idea. These scripts are undeniably impressive, but they lack the authenticity and humanity that are the whole reason people tune into podcasts in the first place – and your audience won’t be fooled.
However, there are ways AI chatbots like chatGPT can support you in your podcast creation process. They can help make your workflow a bit more efficient and (somewhat ironically) help you overcome creator’s block.
Here are some examples of how to use AI in your podcast generation process:
1. Episode Topic Ideas
ChatGPT can come up with endless topic ideas for you. Some might not make sense or be irrelevant, but there will be a lot of valid ones. For example, if I ask chat GPT to ‘5 podcast ideas about food’, this is the reply it generates:
These topics might not immediately jump out at you, but if you were to ask a question more specific to your own podcast niche, you might get some interesting answers. So if you ever struggle to come up with episode ideas or titles, a tool like this can be great for getting the ball rolling.
2. Top-Level Research
Using AI in your podcast research can be really helpful and save you a whole lot of digging time. When you ask a bot a question, the algorithms search through thousands of online sources to pull out information and present it in a coherent way.
So, for example, if I’m doing a podcast on the tallest buildings in the world, I could ask chatGPT to do the basic research for me.
This search has instantly saved me a whole lot of research time on my and could have filled any potential holes in my existing research. The more niche you get with your research questions, the more time you’ll save, as information will be harder to find.
Just be warned that AI is also prone to creative license and will literally make stuff up if you’re not 100% clear in your input. It goes without saying, but you’ll want to fact-check everything it tells you.
3. Draft Shownotes & Social Content
As we covered earlier in this article with the example of ‘UFO sightings in Scotland’, chatbots can create podcast show notes in a matter of seconds. These show notes will be extremely generic and lack the human touch that makes a podcast worth listening to. But, you can use them as a first draft, which you can then edit to put your own spin on them.
If you’re on social, you can also experiment with asking AI to summarise your shownotes into a single tweet or Instagram caption. Again, these will tend to act as a first draft as opposed to the finished piece.
Chatbots aside, you can use AI to manage speech-to-text transcription, too. There are loads of tools out there that can automatically transcribe your shows. Hopefully, you’re using a tool like this already to make your podcast more accessible.
4. Guest Idea Generation
If you often choose a guest interview format for your podcast, a tool like chatGPT can really help with coming up with ideas for it.
First of all, it can help you brainstorm some ideas for podcast guests to invite onto the show. For example:
ChatGPT came up with five guest ideas – above are just the top 2.
And once you have your guest booked in, you can use the bot for interview question inspiration too.
To Wrap Up: AI & ChatGPT in Podcasting
If used wisely, AI like ChatGPT could be a brilliant addition to your podcasting toolbox. But the important thing is to use it as a tool to support your process – don’t let AI make you lazy.
If you overuse a tool like this, your audience will know the difference. And you didn’t start a podcast so that a bot could run it for you!