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NAB Campaigns for FM-Enabled Devices

Asks lawmakers not to support anti-chip resolution

In light of a resolution opposing mandated FM chips in devices — introduced in the House and supported by wireless carriers, record labels and the Consumer Electronics Association — NAB has marshaled its resources and launched a lobbying effort to educate listeners “about the benefits of radio-enabled mobile devices in providing local news, entertainment and emergency lifeline information.”

The “Radio Rocks My Phone” initiative uses on-air and online resources to encourage listeners to seek out cellphones with broadcast radio capability. NAB officials said during the recent convention that cellphone carriers and retailers often don’t highlight the radio feature in their products. The campaign features radio spots in English and Spanish and print ads for station use.

The website provides information about the role radio can play during emergencies, and offers facts about consumer demand for radio-enabled mobile phones. That includes a poll (PDF) that found 73% of cell phone owners said having free, local radio as an option on their phone is important to them, according to the trade association.

“Radio stations can provide critical lifesaving information even when cellular service is disrupted,” said NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith. In a letter to Congress (PDF) coinciding with the campaign, Smith wrote that the “devastation caused by the earthquake in Japan was a gripping reminder that cellphone networks can be unreliable during disasters.”

Smith urged members of Congress not to support the anti-FM chip resolution introduced this week by Reps. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), and Anna Eshoo, (D-Calif.).