FM tuners on mobile phones…the debate.

An interesting article by Katy Bachman appeared on 9.14.10 in Mediaweek.  It included comments from Dennis Wharton of the NAB and Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Electronics Association.

Per a study conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Association of Broadcasters, 76% of cell phone users would pay a one time fee of 30 cents to gain access to local radio stations through their phone. 

While the radio and music industry agree that they would benefit from bigger audiences, the consumer electronics industry  is opposed to a government mandate to put radios in cell phones.

I thought these 2 quotes summed up the debate pretty well.

From Dennis Wharton, EVP of Communications for the NAB…”Most U.S. mobile phone users have been denied over-the-air access to their favorite free and local stations.  With much of the U.S. cell phone market built upon exclusive contracts between carriers and manufacturers, most consumers are left paying for fee-based data-intensive streaming apps with no free, broadcast alternative.”

From Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association…”We agree with the NAB that some consumers may want cell phones with FM receivers, and they have them, since numerous models of radio-equipped phones are already on the market.  the fact is that the NAB doesn’t care what consumers want.  By turning ‘FM’ into ‘forced mandate’ they want to make the consumer buy a radio whether they want one or not.”

My 2 cents is that consumers should have access to free radio anytime and anywhere and that includes free streaming.  I’m not sure how popular radio receivers in cell phones would be, but if there is a market for that service, I would think that the consumer electronics industry would be interested in capitalizing on it.  see the entire article at the link below.

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