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Clear Channel Trying to Fool Listeners in Small Markets

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal reported that Clear Channel Communications is using "voice-tracking" to fool listeners in small radio markets into thinking that music programming is originating locally. This is done by using digital recording technology to assemble a program from soundclips of a Disk Jockey's voice and individual songs.

To make the station seem local, the same DJ also voices local commercials and creates soundclips that mention local events, people, and places that fit the context of the show. This allows an on-air personality named Geoff Alan to appear to be a local host in San Diego and Boise, Idaho simultaneously. According to the article, he voice-tracks his program for the Boise market, so that he seems to be present in Idaho and he is also on the air live when his program is actually recorded in San Diego several hours earlier.

Companies have been running "virtual radio stations" for years in small markets like Boise, Idaho, but they've never had the digital technology at their disposal to fool so many listeners into thinking that programming is originating locally.

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