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Emmis’ Smulyan Says Radio Is Poised to Subsidize Carriers On FM Chip

Radio gets a ‘B’ from Wells Fargo’s Ryvicker

There’s lots of discussion here in Dallas about the radio’s efforts to persuade wireless carriers to embed FM chips in mobile devices.

Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan admitted it’s hard to know how the effort is going but overall he believes radio is closer to nudging the wireless industry on the issue.

Cumulus Media Chair/CEO Lew Dickey says there needs to be an educational process for consumers to let them know and FM chip is in their phones and they need to let their carriers know they want those chips activated. Radio needs to incentivize the carriers, “who are bigger than we are.” He noted some 15 million cars are sold in the U.S. each year and twice as many cellphones are sold. Radio listening would go up if it were in cellphones, Dickey predicted.

Marci Ryvicker

Smulyan said radio is poised to give the carriers “millions in subsidizing.” The industry hopes to make it worth the while for the carriers to embed or activate existing FM chips, Smulyan added.

Radio’s place in the economy is also garnering attention here in Dallas.

Overall, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker gives radio overall a grade “B”

Radio revenue has been growing slowly since the recession with stock prices projected to be up 19% year to date;

“Radio is doing really well. I believe there’s a lot of change that’s happening … and for the better.”