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FM-Capable Cell Phones and NAB Attendance Stats

FM-Capable Cell Phones and NAB Attendance Stats

May 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Erin Shipps, associate editor

Do you remember?

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Two weeks ago, NAB President and CEO David Rehr pushed for Apple to begin including FM radio capabilities in future Iphone and Ipods. A 2008 NAB Fastroad study ( concluded that mobile phone service providers, radio broadcasters and handset manufacturers all stand to benefit from FM-capable mobile phones. At least one mobile phone integrated with FM capacities, Motorola’s ROKR EM35, was featured at the 2009 NAB Show.

But this isn’t the first time radio has tried to put itself in our hands. Transistor radios, like this RCA Victor model from a 1961 ad, look a little familiar, dare I say, like an Ipod.

What will it take to get FM receivers back in our palms? And are we willing to pay for it? The RCA Victor at $24.95 in 1961 would cost about $177 today. That’s just about the price of a 16GB Ipod Nano as it is now. Will added capabilities up the price? We may, or may not find out.

Sample and Hold

NAB Attendance Through the Years

Historically, attendance for the NAB Show has reflected the U.S. economic state. This year’s registered attendance marked the lowest number in more than 10 years at 83,842. The last time numbers were near this low was the last marked recession of 2001-2002, after which attendance rebounded very well. Following the statistics at left, gathered as accurately as possible, the NAB Show reached a peak before and after the 2001-2002 recession and has maintained a slightly lower number since 2003. This year’s low number can obviously be attributed to the current recession; but, if history repeats itself, we should be looking forward to at least bouncing back above 100,000 for 2010 or 2011.

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Other notable numbers: 39,000 in 1986, 51,217 in 1991 and 54,000 in 1992.