Apple's decision to include FM radio in its new iPod nano is getting a thumbs up from radio folks I'm hearing from and reading about for the iTunes Tagging and pause feature.
Tom Webster at "The Infinite Dial" from Edison Research is high on the live pause feature — kind of like TiVo for radio.
Apple describes this as pausing the broadcast with a click, with another click to listen again. "You can even rewind as far back as 15 minutes, then fast-forward to catch up to the live broadcast," it says in its announcement.
"The chip would be an excellent way for someone in the car to hear the tail end of a weather bulletin or breaking local news. It would be easier to hit a recap button on the radio while driving, than to read a text alert on a phone," wrote one commenter.
RDS supporters like Allen Hartle are pleased with the FM analog RDS iTunes Tagging feature.
Many commenters, both on our site and others, have noted the lack of any mention of HD Radio in Apple's announcement. I noted this too, and chalk it up to iBiquity's discussions with Apple about an HD Radio accessory. There's no announcement about that as yet. Maybe by the Radio Show?
NAB and Jeff Smulyan in particular are pleased with the Apple news.
Critics of the nano's inclusion of FM radio would be those who don't think an MP3 player needs to include radio at all, or understandably, AM station folk who are getting tired of their service being left off new devices. I'd be curious to hear from device-makers about the costs of including an FM chip vs. an AM chip and/or whether antenna considerations of AM vs. FM are the tipping point in cost-effectiveness. (It's time for the FCC to look at the proposals for re-purposing analog TV Channels 5 and 6 and re-purpose some of that spectrum for AM.)