Thursday, August 14, 2008

DJ Robot Love at Iowa State's KURE

Some college radio stations have difficulty filling up their schedules with DJs, so they resort to automated programming. Apparently this is something that happens at Iowa State University station KURE-FM in Ames, Iowa, where some nighttime slots are "filled by an automated music selector, nicknamed the Autobot" according to Wikipedia. Their MySpace page even includes some shout-outs to "the bot," which seems to be attracting love and lore.

One KURE listener wrote a post "I Like it When Robots Do the Djing at KURE, Not College Kids," on the Mile 222 blog about the merits of automated DJs and the annoyances of real ones.

According to the post:

"...on my way home I was digging the college radio. KURE 88.5 FM to be exact. Iowa State University’s college radio station has always been pretty decent, but I’ve never really committed completely mostly because I switch to a CD or my iPod out of embarrassment for the DJ on the radio. They talk too long about nothing, just to hear the sound of their own voice, or blurt out some inside joke only their roommate will understand. That’s not all of them, no, and even if it was there’s also the issue of musical taste."

The author goes on to describe the DJ robot on KURE:

"Today...a nice robot from KURE played me his songs, and they were delightful. Now I’m sure that has a lot to do with the songs that were put in my a human to be rotated, but I dug the tiny bits of the robot’s voice cutting in for no more than 5 seconds with: 'You are listening to KURE, I am trapped inside a box.' "

A post on MySpace seemed to concur, saying, " the bot was kicking so much ass I thought it had to be a real dj.. but lo and behold it was the bot..."

Now, I'm not sure how serious the Mile 222 blogger is as the post continues:

"Why not let the humans pick the songs and the robots do the talking. They are much better at it, plus save your human talents for things like talk shows, band interviews, special editions and the very highest quality specialty shows...College radio is a great thing, not enough people use or know about. It used to be a bastion of college antics...Today, it just seems forgotten... Branch out college radio! Take risks! Think of it. KURE’s new slogan…Picked by humans, spun by robots.""

I think this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, as the author does profess love for college radio. But, hey, if you live in Iowa, KURE is recruiting real DJs for its staff. According to their website, "It's good to have living, breathing DJ's filling the airwaves..."

What do you think? Can a robot be a better DJ than a human?

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