Industry Group Presses Wireless Industry to Include Radio in Cellphones

Smulyan says it makes sense
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Emmis Communications President/CEO Jeff Smulyan is spearheading a group effort to convince wireless companies to include radio in handsets, specifically FM analog.

About eight organizations are behind the effort, including NAB, RAB and several broadcast owners. The group has been telling wireless companies that rather than build a parallel system, they should insert an FM chip or activate an existing chip in handsets. It's cost-effective and a good way to warn people in the event of an emergency, especially if the power grid goes down and cell networks are jammed. He spoke at BIA's Winning Media's Strategies Conference.

"We think putting FM radio in all cell phones is a novel idea," Smulyan said, who's been on Capitol Hill promoting the concept.

"It's big for our industry. What we've learned from the rest of the world is people want one appliance. This is it and we need to be in it," he said holding up a cell phone.

The FM chip costs about 40 cents, he said, and the FM antenna can be embedded into the handset.

Including radio in cell phones makes radio cool again and it allows radio to provide a new platform to advertisers, he said.


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