First AI radio show in Switzerland launches in Lucerne

First AI radio show in Switzerland launches in Lucerne

While we often hear news stories about AI chatbots and their slow march from not being able to recognise a banana towards writing interesting if not entirely original or coherent prose, we probably wouldn’t expect artificial intelligence to take over roles where personality is required. However, one radio station in Lucerne has taken its first step into the brave new world by employing an AI as host.

Mike becomes first AI radio host in Switzerland

With his impeccable high German and pleasingly non-monotone voice, you’d be forgiven for not noticing that “Mike”, the new radio presenter at Radio Lozärn, is not flesh and blood but energy and algorithms. He is the very first AI radio host in Switzerland, appearing on the internet and DAB+.

During his show, Mike can be heard three times an hour setting up songs, and will soon present news and the weather. While the schedule is still made for him, all the information about the songs, news and forecast comes from the AI itself.

Speaking to 20 Minuten, Radio Lozärn founder Roger Givel said that Mike had been in off-air training for two months before going live and that the audience thought the idea was “very cool.” “You have to jump on the bandwagon and everything else can still develop further…You would have to listen extremely carefully to recognise that it is an AI.”

Swiss radio station sceptical of Mike's show

While Radio Lozärn has gone for AI in full force, other radio stations are less enthusiastic. Ilaya Zeyrek from Radio 3FACH in Lucerne told 20 Minuten that while AI has its uses, it does not belong on the mic.

“Radio is one of the most personal and authentic media, precisely because of the ‘long-distance relationship’ between the moderator and the listener. This is where AI clearly fails”, she noted. Somera Boesch from CH Media - owners of many regional radio stations and news outlets - thinks along similar lines, arguing that “the closeness, authenticity and credibility of our presenters is important and is indispensable... In our opinion, AI moderation cannot achieve this.”

Nevertheless, Boesch did say that CH Media outlets were putting AI to other uses: “There are already great results when preparing programmes or producing commercials.” However, in words that will resonate with many an expat, she concluded that for AI, “The Swiss dialect will remain a challenge.” Want to listen to Mike? Please visit the Radio Lozärn website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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