Broadcasters Hopeful About FM Chip Talks
The full court press
is on in Washington for FM chips in cellphones.
are hopeful about a meeting on the Hill this week about enabling FM chips in
cellphones and other mobile devices.
“This is the start
of a process,” Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan told Radio World.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis,
R-Fla., called for the private meeting with members of the broadcast, cable and
wireless industries. He chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness,
Response and Communications. NAB’s Gordon Smith, Florida Association of Broadcasters’ Pat Roberts,
Clear Channel’s Jeff Littlejohn, Cris Guttman-McCabe of CTIA — The Wireless
Association and congressional staffers attended as well, along with a
representative of the cable industry.
AT&T and Verizon
were invited but didn’t come, however they are members of CTIA.
Smulyan and an NAB
spokesman made clear the discussions don’t center on a mandated FM chip; rather
they believe this will shake out as a negotiated settlement among industry
Digital and NAB have pressed the carriers for awhile on the issue. The carriers
have repeatedly said consumers aren’t interested in the feature.
“We are asking cell
carriers to voluntarily add or activate radio chips in part because of radio’s
demonstrated role as a lifeline service in times of emergency,” said an NAB
broadcasters believe they have more to offer the carriers with the announcement
at the NAB show about the smaller, more power-efficient HD Radio chips and the
ability to close the so-called “backchannel.”
“I think if the carriers
realize they can offload some of the spectrum use onto us, that’s valuable to
them,” Smulyan said.
The NAB and Smulyan
confirmed this issue is the number one radio priority for the association right
More discussions and
possible congressional hearings are expected. Bilirakis plans more meetings on
the topic. Smulyan said the broadcasters have been approached by both the House
and Senate commerce committees, as well as the Senate Homeland Security &
Governmental Affairs Committee.