Licht exits CNN, Telegraph for sale and it’s the EU v AI

On this week’s show Chris Licht is out!

The CNN boss ends a calamitous month with an embarrassing expose. We discuss what went wrong. Also on the programme – The Telegraph is up for sale… but why? And who might be in the running to grab it?

All that, plus Spotify announces more staff cuts, the EU tackles AI… and, in the media quiz… we learn who’s going green.

Automated Transcript

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Matt Deegan  00:02

Hello and welcome to The Media Podcast. I’m Matt Deegan. On the show today, Chris Licht is out. 

The CNN boss has had a calamitous month with an embarrassing expose, we discuss what went wrong. Also on the programme The Telegraph is up for sale but why and who might be in the running to grab it. All that plus Spotify announces more staff cuts, the EU tackles AI and in the media quiz, we learn who’s going green. That’s all to come on this edition of The Media Podcast. 

In the news this week, Prince Harry gave evidence of the High Court in the phone hacking case against the mirror group newspapers. The Duke of Sussex spent eight hours in the witness box. That’s one of four people due to testify on behalf of over 100 plaintiffs. And this may not be the end he could be back in the court if separate claims against the owners of the sun and the Daily Mail Go ahead. Across the pond the WGA strikes rumbled on this week, this time with Apple being the target writers and their celebrity friends who are out in force flyering at Apple stores and picketing Apple HQ in California, although not causing quite enough noise to detract from the launch of Apple’s new Vision Pro mixed reality headset. Now joining me from the beating heart of Holborn here at the London podcast studios. We welcome back Managing Director of gold Waller for outdoorsmen Hello,

Faraz Osman  01:17

hello, how are you?

Matt Deegan  01:20

I’m excellent yourself. I

Faraz Osman  01:21

feel that’s how I should start every conversation now. How How are you? Well, that’s

Matt Deegan  01:25

always the stuff that we edit out in radio so it made it to Holly speech. This as well, culture secretary, Lucy Fraser this week claimed that the BBC is on occasion biassed. Do you agree with Lucy Fraser?

Faraz Osman  01:40

The bias things really I think the biassing is really weird, right? Because it’s it’s presented as an absolute. So like, there’s a goal that you can achieve, which means that you are suddenly unbiased, which is obviously ludicrous, like bias as an experiment. So like, you know, and how you see biases is comes to you as an individual. And when you’re doing broadcasting I think much surely it’s impossible to be unbiased in broadcasting because completely dependencies consuming it. My view on this is actually, if a cultural secretary from a political party goes in front of select committee and says the BBC is unbiased, I would argue that’s a bit of a bigger problem. Because you know, they are a coach sector of a political party. They are bias. And I think that the fact that you have to ants ask the question of the BBC, is probably a good thing. If you ask the question of, say, a particular newspaper, you probably know if they’re left wing leaning or right leaning. If you ask it about certain new news channels that have sprung up in Alaska, yes, you don’t use channels, not news channels, or whatever they’re called these days. But you kind of know if they’re left leaning or individuals for that matter. Yes. But as a corporation, if you’re asking the question is, is that corporation? unbiased? And you don’t know the answer straightaway? That’s probably a good thing. But

Matt Deegan  02:49

when she was pushed for an example, she can give any.

Faraz Osman  02:51

Yeah, I mean, actually, I think it’s a complete, I’m saying this, but I actually think that she handled herself quite well in a quite balanced way. But it’s ironic, weirdly,

Matt Deegan  03:01

is it just the bar for Coach secretaries is so low. Do a good job.

Faraz Osman  03:05

No, I think what I think what the problem is, is that if you ask a coach or secretary, do you think the BBC is biassed? And then they say yes. And then they say, because of this Gary Lineker thing or whatever, that then becomes a thing that everyone starts worrying about. And they’re like, oh, we need to do something about this, because the culture secretary said this. So I think that it was a bit of a trap that was laid, and there was no right answer that she should give. But I think the reality is that I’m less interested about whether or not she thinks the BBC is biassed, I’m more interested in knowing if she’s going to do anything about it. So she said, Yes, I think the BBC is biassed, and as a result, I think x y Zed changes need to be made that her previous person did have that role had previously then that was problematic. But I didn’t get a sense of that from from the select committee. So I think it’s a it’s a bit of a non story. But I actually think it’s quite a good answer from her and gives me a little bit of comfort. That yes, she’s experienced his bias. Of course, she tells you the story. She should think the BBC has bias you’d like but she’s not planning to do anything about it. So we’re all good.

Matt Deegan  04:04

Well, also joining us making her media podcast debut is broadcast reporter Ali Khan. Hi, Ellie. Hi, Matt.

Ellie Khan  04:10

Thanks for having me.

Matt Deegan  04:12

No worries. We love that you’re here. What do you make of that story?

Ellie Khan  04:16

The BBC is very aware of its own bias, and it’s actively trying to tackle it. It’s currently on the second of a series of thematic reviews looking to sort of weed out where it’s going wrong with impartiality. And

Matt Deegan  04:31

I mean, if you look at Ofcom, because Ofcom see adjudicate on the BBC is biases. And there’s been some this upheld but it’s kind of like a handful, isn’t it? So yeah, every so often, there’s something that it’s got a bit too far or there wasn’t quite the right combination of people in the in the newsroom or on or on that programme?

Ellie Khan  04:48

Yeah, yeah, completely. I think what’s happened and I agree with something that Nick Robinson, BBC, veteran journalist said today In that the goalposts have kind of shifted without anyone really being aware of it, he said that the rules have changed, secretly and Ofcom sort of allowed it. And this is this is not to do with BBC This is to do with GB news, the like, where politicians are sort of allowed to come and interview their own and make very, very impartial statements, and it’s sort of being often allowed to slide so he’s sort of saying we’re operating in a completely different environment, we need to address it.

Faraz Osman  05:30

But that’s that’s something that seems like it’s been pioneered by radio right? So we’ll be see doing all of those shows where they had your nick Ferrari, that’s more right, you’ve got but not just that, but you have politicians doing shows like, you know, and I think obviously did a pretty good job of having that balance. And then kind of GPUs have taken that and kind of going, Oh, just get rid of the balance bit. But have all the politicians interviewing their mates, etc.

Matt Deegan  05:50

I think for those channels is easy for them to get away with, even if they are getting away with it according to off comms rules, because they’re more minority channels. Yeah. And it’s not like it’s that everyone sees it, and suddenly notices and points.

Faraz Osman  06:02

Yeah, but I think the wider issue is, is that like, the opinionation of is that. Like, yeah, as we’re doing on this show, like we’re giving opinions, but you know, I’m not an impartiality lawyer or a kind of, you know, I’m just giving my opinion on a particular story, that creep has started to happen,

Matt Deegan  06:20

because I can get balanced the other way. And that’s, that’s the difference is like, it’s fine for you to say that, it’s fine for you to argue that the BBC is imbalanced. And I can say, well, some would argue the other way. But where

Faraz Osman  06:31

it becomes tricky is that when you have subjects like climate change, or Brexit, or vaccines where you have where you where the balance is, like, what do you have one person on each side of the debate? Or do you have 10 economics that believe one thing because it’s 10 to one and one economics believe something else, or 10 Scientists believing that climate change is real issue? And one outlier saying it’s not or do you just have one of each? What is What does balance look like? And I think that’s the struggle because we want both sides of the coin but that’s not necessarily representative of what the argument is. And and like I said, I just think it’s an experiment. And we should just continue to scrutinise it because if we got to the end and said, Oh, suddenly the BBC is impartial that to me, it’s just a bit weird.

Matt Deegan  07:10

I was reading this week about channel for making further programming cuts. This time to Kirsty all sorts daytime series, and the last legs lost some apps as well. How would you say channel for managing their financial difficulties,

Ellie Khan  07:24

they’re experiencing some serious financial woes, but they are sort of doing this salami slicing thing. This is the second and third in in what we assume is going to be a series of of cuts. The last leg really interesting, it’s one of their staple shows 10pm It gets about a million views a week and it does really well nine UPS down from nine to seven, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I think it probably is, compared to something like Kirsty’s handmade Christmas, which gets decent views every year in December and in the daytime slot.

Matt Deegan  07:57

Some of the in production companies have been a little grumpy about this and sort of the risk has been pushed to them away from from Channel Four. It’s up to the last legs producer to basically deal with channel fours. loss of income.

Ellie Khan  08:10

Yeah, we’ve heard sort of anecdotally that there have been grumpy, produces grumpy crew left of high and dry and those last two episodes of The Last leg. In general indies are very, very worried they are sort of being asked to finance their own shows which isn’t necessarily unusual for a channel at ITV, but for Channel Four, it’s unheard of and worrying for for a lot of Indies. They’re very concerned and and lots of shows also being pushed to next year

Matt Deegan  08:37

for as you run an indie these sort of surprised these cuts come quite late in the production process. Almost a lot of people thought they got it they got a nine show commission and built their programme around that. And then suddenly they found a programme

Faraz Osman  08:50

that their company and it’s not just the companies but it’s also the freelancers that get employed by those companies. I think the show that got that got decommissioned or cancelled or not greenlit red lit. I don’t know what they call it now. What they were talking about for wedding wasn’t enough for me, but yeah, so what was it called was cancelled. It was yeah, whatever their lighting that was in production. Yeah, all of those freelancers got two weeks notice. And then and then a few days later, we had this what I think is ridiculous story about the retention bonuses that everyone at Channel Four is being paid. And I think that many Brits have deferred now. Well, my understanding is is that the top three heads have deferred. I don’t know if the commissioning editors and the heads of department who have to have deferred it as well. And I think if you’re a freelancer, particularly if you’re a junior freelancer, and you’ve been given two weeks notice on a job that you thought you had eight months on and that’s just gone in a in a really difficult climate and then you pick up the paper and you read a story about how the people that decommission that show have been given a bonus some of which they deserve it because they’ve done a really interesting job and decent job for the past few years. But that’s a retention bonus they’ve been given rewarded for not leaving their jobs. It It kind of is pretty tone deaf. And I think that we have to remember that channel four have to remember that they don’t make any of their own shows, it is all independent production companies of many different sizes. Some are truly independent and fairly small, like mine, some Mammoth and actually bigger than the balance sheet of Channel Four itself. But we’re all independent companies, and we will have to run our cash flow. And I think it would be similarly scandalous if I turned around and as a as a producer, running a small company, and just called up one of my suppliers and said, oh, sorry, that guaranteed work that you had for a year. We’re pulling it because we didn’t run our fingers properly.

Ellie Khan  10:34

worth mentioning. Also, that channel for strategy director, appeared before NPS this week and talked about this, he addressed this saying they’re facing short term market pressures. But he did also mention the channels in strong creative health was his quote, so that there’s like a quick return, aren’t they? Yeah, let’s see. Yeah, that’s what they said. But to

Faraz Osman  10:56

be clear, I didn’t mismatch Channel Four and giving their employees bonuses if that’s the reason why people I’ve got no issue with that. I think that that’s a fairly decent thing to do. And we should retain staff and talent in any way that we can. What I take exception to is this giving younger freelancers, two weeks notice on a fairly long running job. And I think that that could have been handled in a much better way, not commissioning a show like Kirsty or, you know, slimming down the next commission of last leg to lesser episodes and before, again, you can then plan for that and you can decide how you employ people and that’s how the market works. I’m a, it’s not great, but you know, it’s the ebb and flow of creativity in the production sector. But But telling young people and in fact all people that you have a guarantee job for what eight months and then telling them that they only have two weeks. I think it’s pretty scandalous,

Matt Deegan  11:45

not good for someone at the top, who has lost their job is CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht, following a mixed response to his changes and some poor PR choices. He was dispatched earlier in the week, le what led to Mr. LICS downfall.

Ellie Khan  12:00

There was a 15,000 word profile written on Chris Licht, and it was sort of the main thrust of this was off the back of this town hall that CNN did with with Donald Trump. And Chris left, supposedly, according to the profile filled the room with extra Trumpy people, and sort of diehard Trump fans. And it was it did make for really uncomfortable viewing if you if you look at the the sort of highlights of it. It there are some moments that are really, really uncomfortable. And

Matt Deegan  12:36

I’ve angered a lot of people on Caitlin Collins who was tasting that somewhat under the bus because she had to deal with it on her own. She talked about this was in the Atlantic, it was a big long, a big long piece. It sort of pushed him pushed it over the edge really for him, I think.

Ellie Khan  12:51

Yeah, I think it was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back. He he had to sort of come out and apologise a few days after it was published, apologised directly to staff who he had already angered by all accounts. So yeah, he’s completely lost the dressing room. The chief Zaslav didn’t didn’t say it specifically because of this article. But wow, imagine that the power of being able to write an article that really has has that has that impact. He has

Matt Deegan  13:21

to take some of the blame as well, when he said this is the chairman of the Chief Executive of Warner Brothers discovery he own CNN, he said that he took responsibility. Yes, yeah, I really should do because apart and you read if you read this Atlantic piece, basically, czars was always on the phone to Chris electon was very much pushing him to deliver his own vision, which sort of drew a wedge between him and the staff.

Faraz Osman  13:45

It’s a really difficult job. Firstly, I think also, the reality is, is that the decisions that he made didn’t right. I think that like, you know, I PVR the Donald Trump Town Hall because I’m a bit like, we’re back to the nonsense and the chaos and a soap opera, but after about five minutes of watching it, you’re just a bit just fatigued because I’m bored of it. You know,

Matt Deegan  14:04

ratings wise, it did okay, but it wasn’t.

Faraz Osman  14:08

And I think that when you start seeing figures like Newsmax is beating CNN on occasion, you’ve got to start asking questions. If CNN went through this decision, and it worked for them, then I think everyone be calling him an absolute genius. And

Matt Deegan  14:20

this is what a lot of people think that the the profile if it had matched an upward trend would have been a great profile. But unfortunately, he’d stepped on a number of landmines before before it came out. But But

Faraz Osman  14:32

to say that some of you know they are some of them are land mines, some of them are of his own making. The channel has got a weird tone now, because it is trying to be a bit more right and I don’t really know, more centrist. Well, I don’t think it is trying to be a bit more centrist because I think that it’s trying to pander to you know, the centre, the centre or the right of the political spectrum in America has moved so right, that like the whole kind of whole Overton Window thing, it means that you then start having to platform you You know, January 6 deniers and you know, and when, and it’s like, that’s not about moving to the centre, or it’s actually even more problematic. The issue is is can you have centre news in America? And in the same way that can you have a centre newspaper in the UK? The answer is probably as we’re discovering No, all you

Matt Deegan  15:17

can, and there’s just no viewers for if you’re passionate enough to watch a channel without a left or right view,

Ellie Khan  15:22

I think his remit was to push it to the centre. And it seems like he’s gone against that completely. That moment when Trump completely demeaned it was the day after he was found guilty by a jury of sexually abusing the writer EG and Carol, and he made fun of it, and the room went wild, they loved it. And that’s, that’s not that’s not a centre.

Faraz Osman  15:45

But I would argue that town halls are, they’re a very American thing. We don’t really have them here. They tried them in the UK, but But I do think that when you have a town hall, you kind of let the speaker hang themselves, and you kind of let the audience see and decide and, and make comments like this, I think that, you know, some pushback is necessary. But town halls are meant to be a forum to allow people to say these things, you know, the Nikki Haley, when we didn’t get anywhere near as many viewers but was interesting. She said some ludicrous and audacious things. Do I think that she should have been pushed back on them? You can argue that, but the reality is, is you need to hear them say that. So you understand that, you know, Nikki Haley might be transphobic, or has an issue around has a opinion around abortion, and she will sign up as a federal law around it, you need the voters to be able to hear that so they can make up their minds. I don’t know if it is for the the the anchors of those town halls to kind of go well, I think you’re wrong. Because that’s not really what those forums are for. But either way, it’s it’s not writing, it’s not worth something needs to happen. And I think it’d be a real shame of CNN continues to slide because it’s an important broadcast.

Matt Deegan  16:50

What is interesting, I mean, all the news channels, MSNBC, CNN and Fox in America make all their money from cable subscriptions. So it doesn’t matter so much where your ratings are, as long as you get the cash from the cable companies. It’s okay. But that’s under a lot of threats with people kind of cord cutting. So, obviously, it’s a race for ratings, but also a race to keep your business model intact, isn’t it?

Faraz Osman  17:11

Yeah, I mean, I think the CNN business model is an international one, right? It’s quite interesting. I’ve been watching a lot of the coverage around the whole Lyft golf PGA Tour, like merger and there’s been a lot of particular from Jake Tapper, who’s been kind of going this is outrageous. And you know, and it is outrageous to PGA Tour went on record and saying that when we think that, you know, the Saudis and lift golf is something that we really, and then suddenly they have a massive three merger bouncer. But if you watch CNN internationally, all the adverts in the break bumpers are all Qatar, the rules, you know, there’s a lot of Saudi adverts within it. They’re taking a lot of that coin, from the very same places that are criticised. And there’s

Matt Deegan  17:48

the Gulf too. You said that you said earlier about newspapers and here in the UK, the telegraph is at risk of falling into administration. Also it has fallen into administration. Now following a court battle between the papers owners, the Barclay brothers, whilst reporting on the development has been branded irresponsible by the Barclay family. The papers are going to be sold along with the spectator led pretty fancy buying a national newspaper 600 million for these

Ellie Khan  18:13

Yeah, go on. I mean, if I was to buy it, it would be purely out of interest in the tradition and the history that the paper carries. It would be like you know, it’s an institution it’d be like buying John Lewis or something. It’s that’s where the sort of priceless value I think lies

Matt Deegan  18:30

for us is that the likely buyer, someone who is maybe right winger just wants to carry on that tradition, rather than someone that wants to build a modern media business. Are you going to see dmg tea or Irish or European media company

Faraz Osman  18:44

iron? I think I’m going to say Lebedev, and I’m not saying that there’s going to be a buyer but I think it was interesting when he bought the Evening Standard, and and what that meant for him as a person. And we there’s obviously new stories about labour that are coming out now particularly with what’s happening in Europe. And I think that the Telegraph in the last few years has moved from being a bit of paper of record to being a mouthpiece for the party that’s currently in power under spectator by by extension. So I think that if you want to get close to the current cabinet and the previous cabinet, or you want to get close to what the Tory party might turn into then it would probably be quite a sensible buy and maybe more sensible than than cutting a check for for a donation to that party. And I think that the buyers are circling around it will probably be looking at it for its power and influence more from Ellen for us next after this

Matt Deegan  19:45

and Ellen for us back with me for part two of the media podcast time for some news in brief, a Spotify a cutting 200 jobs from their podcast section, combining podcasting gimlet into their already existing Spotify studios and shifting focus to Spotify for podcasters. For our Spotify acquired the studios in 2019, it really kind of kicks off their big push into podcasting. But now it seems to have sort of fallen apart a little bit where what’s gone wrong with their strategy or has anything gone?

Faraz Osman  20:17

I don’t I actually don’t think that anything that hasn’t necessarily gone wrong. It’s this isn’t a huge surprise to me. I think it’s I think it’s a shame that that always, always is a shame that they cut staff, I think that that’s, you know, is ruthless. And, yeah, people who can do that have got more, I say, confidence, confidence. It’s not something that I could imagine getting on a zoom call and saying you’ve lost your jobs but but away from that the podcast strategy and getting deep into it. I think that we’ve got to remember that companies like Spotify tech companies, and they put these out in these plays, and they kind of see podcasting. And they’re like, it seems to be like a growing market. Let’s make sure that we cover our terrain about it, if it grows, continues to grow in this way, then great. We’ve got a foot in it. It reminds me a little bit of the smartphone boom, right. So when Microsoft were a massive company, and they missed the move to mobile, that’s always a fear that a lot of tech companies have got that they’ll miss the next thing. And it felt like in audio podcasting was going to be the next thing after music. It does feel like it slowed down slightly. I think it was probably there was too much content, too many podcasts and a lot of a lot of listeners got a bit of fatigue. Every day. Yeah, well, no, but it’s just as too much choice in the same way that we’re seeing the same thing in television, you know, and there being a pullback in the television space in the streaming space. It doesn’t surprise me that’s been mirrored in the podcasting and on demand audio space as well.

Matt Deegan  21:40

The Spotify sort of talk about creators being a big focus for them and some of their deals rather than making stuff themselves has been the sort of Joe Rogan’s of the world even the Bahamas signing them up. And now obviously supporting other creators sort of a bit like YouTube, is that a better a better thing for them to be doing then making their own shows?

Ellie Khan  21:58

I don’t know if it’s a better thing. They’ve they’ve invested a lot of money on some some some big bets. Meghan Markel, also being one of them. Her podcast has sort of steadily fallen down the charts. Yeah, I think they bet big on on some original programming. And perhaps that hasn’t quite paid off. I think it’s I think it’s probably needed to happen that they that they were going to go back, but sad that it’s off the back of a series of other cuts earlier this year as well.

Matt Deegan  22:30

Yes. I mean, for us is it is the truth, really, that basically gimlets run out of creative steam.

Faraz Osman  22:36

It’s a bit unfair, maybe I mean, gimlet had had their issues. And I think that they had some internal issues that they had to deal with, given gimlet staff would

Matt Deegan  22:45

say that they weren’t supported marketing wise by Spotify. And they didn’t get all the goodness that they were promised. But it’s part of the problem is that in a hits business, if you don’t make the hits, then you’re going to be on your way out.

Faraz Osman  22:58

Yeah. Look, I think that’s that’s what it comes down to. And I think that when you launch something new, the only way that you can make noise about it is to acquire lots of things, talent, and companies that people know. And then slowly start to find the hits along the way. So I think he’s absolutely right with the mega marketplace. And you mentioned the Obamas. But if I if you look at Apple strategy, for instance, when they launched Apple TV Plus, they launched it of all these huge names and this like, you know, this nonstop roster of everybody that’s ever famous in any you know, it was it was almost like, ludicrous. But actually the hits have been Ted lasso. And they’ve been severance. And they’ve been actually show that don’t actually have these massive stars. But you need to get to that point. And it doesn’t feel like Spotify have had a podcast. So he bought in lots of stuff. And they’ve acquired lots of stuff, but they didn’t they haven’t kind of really started building their own. This is what the Spotify podcast tone is. And this is what you get. If you listen to it. They’re really people still know Spotify for a place to listen to the latest Taylor Swift.

Matt Deegan  23:57

Well, maybe the solution is just AI and just getting somebody else who’s getting the computer to make the podcast but all this is coming. There’s some news this week that the EU has urged social media companies to immediately start labelling AI generated content in a bid to contain the spread of misinformation from Russia. I mean, le Twitter on I don’t think a part of a US voluntary code anymore and getting Elon to do anything is is pretty difficult. Do you think it’s gonna be do you think we’ll see this work for for social media companies doing what the EU wants them to do?

Ellie Khan  24:30

I think what’s interesting here is this is off the back of a lot of discourse about worries about AI. You know, high profile tech people coming out Elon Musk, people who loved AI up until now and saying, you know, we need to we need to pause this. It’s dangerous. Lots of caution.

Matt Deegan  24:51

So one of the problems is that there’s big fines for some of these social media companies up to 6% of their global revenues. For Twitter that can be about 140 million quid So lots of

Ellie Khan  25:01

Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot of money. I think, you know, this, this is such a complex area. And I think the issue that these companies might be facing is the fact that the technology is moving so quickly, it’s so hard to define the threat that AI poses, by definition, because AI is, you know, ever, ever learning and ever moving and ever shifting. So it’s, it’s, it’s going to be a tricky one,

Matt Deegan  25:26

for us at least, right? Isn’t she? Because we’re still sort of at the foothills of AI, it’s still really early days is legislation. Everyone says there must be legislation for it, but why legislating for the wrong thing?

Faraz Osman  25:38

I think this story is hilarious, right? Because if you run an AI company, and you make AI content, and then somebody says to you, you need to mark your AI content has been made by AI, how do you think they’re going to do that? They’re gonna get AI to do it. Right. So they’re gonna build an AI bot to check its own homework. And that is I pretty sure the beginning of how Terminator started, right. So when you’ve got like an AI algorithm checking another AI algorithm, like, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s just hilarious to me, I just don’t understand, like, where that begins and ends. But what I think is happening and what I’d like to see happening and I do you think it’s, it’s interesting that you’ve got the biggest companies Google Microsoft, getting in on this space, is that there will be a kind of standardisation is a poor example. But in the same way that in television, you have a product placement logo, that there will start to be a standardisation for consumers and audiences to know, but the question around, you know, writing articles or coming up with titles or shows or Britex vo or whatever that might be, that there is an issue and staffing around that. And are we losing it, you know, are we getting people the machines to do that rather than started I saw a hilarious thing where like at fast food restaurant is turning their their kiosks that you go through dry threes into AI bots, and it gives you an instruction, if you want to talk to a human being and say this word and it will revert you back, that’s all going to start happening. I remember the days when you would book cinema tickets via the phone, and that was all done via AI and say want to do this. We’re kind of in that world right now,

Matt Deegan  27:03

for you for one of your shows, if there was sorry, if there was, if one of your shows if there was still a bit of AI just used in the production of it, you wouldn’t want to put a little AI in a circle on the credits, which

Faraz Osman  27:16

will give you a better example. If we have a if we have a steal. And in that still is a piece of a piece of footage, we’re not going to steal if we have a shot and in the background of that shot is an a bit of artwork that we can’t clear. What is traditionally done is that it’s blurred right now, is it right or wrong for me to kind of go? Well, let’s just get Let’s just remove it. Right? Because it’s a better experience for the audience because it’s gone. And it’s not distracting. It’s not blurred. It’s it’s not doing anything that we haven’t done before. Because we’ve always masked it because we it’s not cleared. Is it then coming is it they’re not real for me, so long as the story and the content continues to be what it’s meant to be, that’s fine. If we start making things up as in like, this person didn’t say this, or this didn’t happen or this picture isn’t real, then yes, that should be marked. So

Matt Deegan  28:02

one thing you can do, and probably for both organisations, you could ask them a journey to generate a picture of Matt Hancock to illustrate a story. And that’s, you know, in addition, it’s not really changing anything. It’s

Faraz Osman  28:15

again, I saw sky I was watching Sky News last night, and they did a hilarious reconstruction of Prince Harry in his courtroom giving his you know, Saint because they couldn’t get the footage inside the cameras inside the courtroom. They do this wild thing where they get an actor pretending to be Prince Harry, reading out what he said in Prince Harry’s weird accent. Sorry, the act of weird accent. Maybe a bit bit of both. But it’s got reconstruction in the top right hand corner and the audience accepts that and kind of goes, well, I know why you’re doing this. And I think that as editorial, we just need to ask the question, well, why are we doing this? We’re doing this because you can’t get cameras in the courtroom. So as a result, we’ve reconstructed it in AI.

Ellie Khan  28:49

Yeah, it was a similar example, which actually used AI. The BBC did a programme about going inside the AAA. And in order to preserve the identities and safeguard the identities of those the people they were speaking to, they superimposed faces over the top of, of the, of the interviewees, and they had to clearly label every time that happened, because it looked really realistic, you can really tell. And so that was a good example of how I I think was used positively to send a good message and to do a good thing on TV. And Mark very clearly marked their work. They were adamant about that.

Matt Deegan  29:29

Well, something that AI will never take on is the media quiz. This week, it’s entitled greener, or not so green, greener or not to green. I’ll name a company with a media profile. You just tell me if this week they are greener, or not so green, easy, sorted.

Faraz Osman  29:50

Three jumpin chat GPT to write this script for you and it wouldn’t be any clearer to be cleaner. Well,

Matt Deegan  29:55

if you want to play just buzzing with your name. So for us, you’d say for us finale your c’est la vie. Here we go question number one greener or not so green for radio Caroline

Ellie Khan  30:07

le le that greener they are greener they’ve gone green they’ve gone solar powered radio Caroline is such an interesting thing at the moment. It’s it’s the radio that inspired the amazing film the boat that rocked Bill Nye and Nick Frost. But the it’s a lovely thing that’s happening at the moment. They they are crowdfunding at the moment to save the Ross revenge, which is that boat which the the radio Caroline is housed on, and it needs a lot of repairs. It’s a bit of a wreck, but it’s got so much history and it’s such a lovely story. And it’s I think it’s such a valuable part of this, this country’s culture

Matt Deegan  30:48

and they’re looking for the transmitter to be fully powered by solar panels. Yes, that’s, that’s gonna Yeah, what they hope will make them greener. So

Faraz Osman  30:57

why not call them solar sails? Like, come on Chad GBT would have given you that, that title,

Matt Deegan  31:03

you can send them five quid and put that in the comments on that on their Crowdfunder. Okay, question number two, greener or not so green for Shell?

Faraz Osman  31:12

Or they’re not so green, aren’t they? I’m sorry. Sorry for and then shell are not so green. They’re quite yellow and red. Really?

Matt Deegan  31:20

Why are they not so green? They got in trouble for

Faraz Osman  31:23

some advert that they did where they basically said that Bristol is nice and green and clean because of shell and naturally. That’s not not quite true. I’m being quite cynical about this. Company. I’m saying this out loud. And honestly, I’m on shell sci fi but a big oil but I’m here basically. But that’s how I keep my company going. Like I’m actually funded by the Qatar I’m not an official sentence you can decide your anything. But the the advert that got inverted commas banned. Although hilariously, every time you ban an advert it means it gets more viewers, which I always think is a bit self defeating. But it said that Bristol is ready you had ready in big letters. And then it said to go green. And yes, it kind of suggested that. That meant that shell had got it ready to go green, which they hadn’t. And shall we’re arguing No, we’re just saying that Bristol is using a lot of green energy, which means it’s ready for the green switchover. Yes, a bit semantics but

Matt Deegan  32:13

the AASA so that they were admitting to what extent they represented the overall activities. Yeah. It’s the very polite way of saying they’re like, Okay, point heat. So question number three, greener or not so green for The Guardian. Oh,

Ellie Khan  32:31


Faraz Osman  32:33

I’m just to break the deadlock. I’m gonna say first you’re gonna say I’m gonna say not so great. Say not so green.

Matt Deegan  32:40

Incorrect. The Guardian media group’s positive impacts and sustainability report declares they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Over the past two years, I assume their own not the country’s partly through finding beef in the staff canteen. And I imagine declining print circulation as well.

Faraz Osman  33:00

I mean, sure.

Ellie Khan  33:02

Yeah, must catch up on some hype reading this

Faraz Osman  33:05

evening. Over not over about over a chicken burger.

Matt Deegan  33:08

well appointed each so a draw. So you get to define the media podcasts new green strategy.

Faraz Osman  33:15

I think it should be your jumper colour. That’s like on YouTube. See, Matt’s jumper is a pale green. I think that that’s a good representation of green

Matt Deegan  33:23

plug ago and find our YouTube channel so you can see the ones that have my green jumper. Thanks to our guests for as Osman and alikhan. Where can listeners keep up with the work that you’re doing? Only? How can people see your writings

Ellie Khan  33:35

broadcast now dot code at UK, we are behind a paywall. So you might have to register or subscribe for us.

Faraz Osman  33:43

We’ve got show coming out and Channel Four. Channel Four is not currently under a paywall, which is a good thing called What’s it called? It’s called sounds like the 80s Kimberly’s very excited about it. And he wrote a lovely piece about it. And it’s coming out at the end of this month. And yeah, other than that, I’m just playing Zelda. So if you’re playing Zelda, can you look me up on Instagram at fosmon? And tell me about it because that’s all I want to talk about is Zelda. He was

Ellie Khan  34:05

late for a broadcast event. And he admitted it was because he was playing Zelda did.

Faraz Osman  34:11

Is that true? Yes.

Ellie Khan  34:14

The day you received it in the post,

Matt Deegan  34:15

should we put your gamertag in the show notes so people can can find you that way?

Faraz Osman  34:19

It’s not a deep game at times, Nintendo honestly, man, get with the times.

Matt Deegan  34:23

Thank you both. Thanks so much for joining us today. If you’re enjoying our new YouTube channel, you’ll know that the London podcast studios are the place to record your next podcast to complete with a full 4k rig and a fancy video wall to throw your artwork on just head to There’s also a link in the show notes and remember to keep spreading the good news about the media podcast or your friends and colleagues in person or on social media. send anybody to media podcast and then will pop up in their podcast app of choice. 

My name is Matt Deegan, the producer was Matt Hill it was a Rethink Audio production. I’ll see you next week.