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The Biggest AI Risk To Broadcasters? ‘Doing Nothing’ Says One Expert.

Broadcasters may still be navigating the best ways to use artificial intelligence, from the creation of advertising copy to on-air personalities. To one AI expert, the biggest peril is inaction. “Doing nothing at all is a massive risk,” says Nick Locascio, the Booth AI founder and CEO who recently signed on as an internal AI consultant at Beasley Media Group.

“I think the biggest risk for companies, and specifically media companies, is not adapting fast enough,” he says. “Doing nothing presents a massive challenge to keep up to speed with competitors.”

Locascio says on a new episode of Borrell’s Local Marketing Trends Podcast that while much of the attention has been on how AI will be used to replace workers, that is not the focus at Beasley. Instead, he says, they are striving to adopt AI to make the workplace more efficient.

“The very nature of work is being transformed and changed,” he says. “AI is set to revolutionize the way that work is done and make folks more efficient in the way that they accomplish their jobs or tasks, by being able to do more with the time that they’re at work.”

The result, Locascio says, is that they are not only able to help companies reduce their costs but have more impact at a lower risk. “If you’re not augmenting your workforce right now with AI, you do stand at a disadvantage to all of your competitors,” he says.

But as AI is applied at the individual employee level, Locascio says there are often issues around data privacy and data sharing.

“The guardrails are still being developed,” he says. “It’s important to have a cohesive AI strategy of what tools the company is comfortable using and enforcement across that,” he recommends.

Beasley brought Locascio onboard last year, in what executives say was an intentional move to go outside the radio industry and bring the MIT-trained AI engineer onboard. CEO Caroline Beasley told the show their primary focus is on a transformation of the company’s systems to best leverage what AI can do.

Locascio says as he works with companies the process begins with an alignment of the business goals and their roadmap for technology adoption to decide what role AI will play.

“The first step is translating the wants into specific strategy and goals,” he says. “The focus right now is empowering the workforce with AI, and how can we make the workforce more efficient, to be able to do more things at a higher quality.” Locascio calls the potential of creating content with Generative AI an “interesting avenue” as well, but it is not how Beasley is prioritizing its evolution.

“It is currently in evaluation stages,” he says. “Most of the work has been in incorporating AI to improve the workforce.” One example of that is embracing tools like Microsoft’s productivity suite Copilot.

“Gen AI is able to take data from all different types of sources, audio, and video, and interpret it in multiple modalities. And that’s when things get really powerful, and really interesting, to be able to unlock that data,” Locascio says. He says that could mean using AI to do an archival analysis to determine what is in Beasley’s audio vault, and how that could be leveraged in the future.

After working within the media industry for a few quarters, Locascio says he sees a large opportunity for AI to be a differentiating factor for media companies since many have a large amount of data that is inaccessible by outsiders.

“Media companies have a large amount of this private internal data, and that’s where huge differentiators come into play to be able to utilize that in effective ways,” he predicts. “So I think the media industry has a fantastic opportunity to embrace AI for a variety of use cases and purposes, and be able to out-compete and be better in many ways than some external AI specific companies.”

Yet for all its promise, Locascio thinks not every company will enthusiastically bring AI onboard, with the pace of adoption depending largely on how willing top-level executives are to embrace change in general, but also with how AI will impact their workforce.

“It can be a massive, massive advantage, when it comes to things like sales, when it comes to things like the efficiency of your operations teams. And the decision to embrace technology to augment and empower those teams, or to not, can be quite critical,” he says.

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