Back in the 90's, there was a trial balloon floated about having a recorded spiel. The idea was quickly defeated and went down as just one more of Pre$$ler's harebrained schemes, but I wonder if now it might not be better that way. The live skip would still be in the boat to drive and operate the CD player or whatever it is, but the spiel would be recorded. The Mark Twain runs like this and it works fine.
Don't get me wrong; I prefer the live skip, but it's more of a "might as well" thing. Seems like every time I ride the JC anymore, I'm the only one even attempting to listen to the spiel. A couple times, I've even seen the skip give up and start playing just to me. As far as the jokes go, well, it's hard to laugh anymore, since the spiels are 90 percent verbatim no matter who's driving the boat.