As the world progresses toward a more technologically dependent society, it’s difficult to create boundaries for ourselves. With more and more technology advancing each and every day, we have become accustomed to a more fast-paced and efficient lifestyle that revolves around making life more hassle free, whether its with our phones, computers or other machines.
We all know that many machines have replaced factory workers who create the products we use all the time. At the grocery store, it is common to see a self-check out machine, rather than only check-out aisles monitored by a clerk. Examples like this bring out some questions we should ask ourselves. Is all this technology all the time a good thing? When does technology become too much? Where do we draw the line?
We are seeing a new type of technology rising in the radio industry- voice tracking. Essentially, voice tracking is substituting live on-air talk with a pre-recorded sound that can be efficiently sent out across the country and broadcasted miles away from where it was created.
It sounds harmless (and maybe it is) but there is a debate about its ethicality. But first, let’s weigh the pros and cons:
-It is cheaper for the radio station to employ only a few DJs who can voice track, rather than keep multiple DJs around the clock for live work.
-It can be used to fill in the radio gaps on holidays, when people should be spending time with family or late hours of the night.
-Emergency situations would allow for quick and easy mass communication of an important radio messages that were ready to be sent.
-It promotes a more modern, technologically advanced society that allows us to do less because machines can do more.
-The demand to hire DJs for all hours of the day and night has decreased. Not as many jobs are available due to the efficiency of voice tracking.
-You cannot voice track any radio show that involves people calling in, therefore that limits the use of voice track. It could also encourage the radio industry to decrease the amount of shows that require interaction between the DJ and listeners.
-Essentially, voice-tracking is lying to listeners because they believe that the radio stream is live, happening in a nearby area.
-The station loses that fun, authentic feel of listening to someone who is live.
-If a piece of radio sound is voice tracked in one region and then broadcasted in another, there might be differences between the cultures, accents and other aspects that are dead giveaways of its real origin.
To see more pros and cons about radio voice tracking, click here)
Personally, I do not prefer voice tracking to the real live radio. I think what has always made the radio unique is that it is a live broadcast in which people can communicate with each other. I also think that DJs require a certain amount of skill to be able to keep a listener’s attention, as well as drawing in telephone callers.
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I believe that voice-tracking can definitely be a useful tool in case of emergency situations when getting the word spread out to large audiences is essential. I also believe that when a very well known DJ, such as Ryan Seacrest, who is loved by many, records something for the whole country, it can be a benefit for people who don’t live in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. But I don’t think that it is necessary in normal day-to-day life with all radio stations. Almost anyone with a computer and an idea can make their own podcast these days. So, what makes voice tracking different from that? I don’t see where there would be a difference in being on the radio, versus just making soundbites in your garage.
I think that there are some things that society should keep, even when technology offers something better. For example, we are losing bookstores left and right to the creation of e-readers. My hope for the radio is it to preserve the live DJs who made the radio what it is today.
Website referenced to write this blog post: