Updated blog is now at Interference Patterns. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Carson Daly rose to fame as the host of "Total Request Live" on Viacom's MTV. Less well known is his side gig as a superhuman D. J. With a little help from digital editing, Mr. Daly can do a top-10 countdown show tailored to the phoned-in requests of radio listeners in 11 different cities without actually knowing which songs he is counting down. Mr. Daly's syndicated radio show, "Carson Daly Most Requested," is produced by Premiere Radio Networks, a unit of the broadcasting giant Clear Channel Communications. The program runs each weekday on 140 stations — most of them owned by Clear Channel — although only 11 receive the digitally customized version that seeks to simulate a local program.
With a lot of cutting and pasting, the engineers create 11 customized hourlong countdown shows for cities like New York, Philadelphia and Detroit, and two national pop and rhythm-and-blues countdowns for other markets. The customization means Mr. Daly can seem to be telling listeners in a particular city their most-requested songs for that day — without ever seeing the city's top-10 list.
Mr. Daly's show uses technology that is similar to voice tracking, but industry experts said that the digital manipulation of the host's words and phrases is so extensive as to put the show in a league of its own.
Not all of Mr. Daly's sentences are digitally constructed. The show's writers give him longer segments, like gossip roundups and customized introductions for New York and Los Angeles. But much of the material is written with recycling in mind, so a joke about Christina Aguilera that is used to introduce the No. 3 song in Boston can be used on another day when the song is, say, No. 6 in Atlanta.