Ricki Lee-Led Group Acquires ‘Radio News AI’


NEW YORK — It describes itself as a generative AI-powered company that “helps your news team get more done, faster,” by generating artificial news anchors for an AM or FM based on a local news source of a station’s choosing.

The company has just been acquired by a broadcast radio technology company led by Ricki Lee, one of the first non-U.S. citizens to hold a FCC license.

RadioNewsAI is being acquired by Aiir Inc., which offers software applications to radio stations including the PlayoutONE automation system with WebVT for remote broadcasting, as well as websites and mobile apps, and studio messaging dashboards.

To be clear, Radio News AI is not being marketed as a replacement for live staff. Rather, it is designed to provide services including news, sports, weather, up-and-coming events, and traffic reports to stations that lack the financial resources to do so ordinarily, benefiting from AI and cloned voices.

Lee, who serves as Aiir CEO, said, “Aiir’s mission is to help our customers ‘Create Radio.’ Radio News AI perfectly fits our mission statement. This acquisition means Aiir has entered the AI space for the first time, and I cannot wait to share our growth plans for this product with you in the coming months.”

Radio News AI is founded by Stefan de Groot. He commented, “I can’t imagine a better match for acquiring Radio News AI than my new friends at Aiir. Many of our users are already using their software, and I am positive they will take the platform and all its possibilities to the next level.”

Lee in February 2018 first gained notice for his role in the purchase of an FM radio station in Tupper Lake, N.Y., a rural Adirondack Mountains community where Ted Morgan had taken WRGR-FM 105.1 dark under Special Temporary Authority due to financial challenges. Lee was a 50/50 partner in the acquisition alongside his wife, a Polish citizen. Lee is a Briton who is a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Given their nationalities, a Petition for Declaratory Ruling was filed to the FCC Media Bureau requesting that permission be granted for 100% indirect ownership through Border Media of WRGR. That transpired, marking one of the first instances where a 20% foreign ownership threshold was surpassed in the U.S.

WRGR has since been sold and is no longer owned by Lee.


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