NAB Prefers Carriers ‘Voluntarily’ Include FM Chips in Devices

‘For public safety reasons alone, it makes perfect sense to enable cell phones with inexpensive radio chips’
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NAB had a low-key response to news that the wireless industry, along with the Consumer Electronics Association and the Recording Industry Association of America, opposes a government mandate for FM chips in cellphones and other devices.

Asked for comment by Radio World, the broadcast trade association issued a statement: “NAB would prefer that cell phone carriers voluntarily add radio chips to mobile devices. For public safety reasons alone, it makes perfect sense to enable cell phones with inexpensive radio chips.”

We reported that California Representatives Darrell Issa, a Republican, and Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, introduced H. Con. Res. 42, the “Creativity and Innovation Resolution.” The non-binding resolution specifically opposes government mandates for FM chips, or “any terrestrial broadcast chip, in mobile devices including phones, smartphones and tablets.”

The resolution also supports the concept of “compensating artists,” referring to performance rights payments for terrestrial radio, the issue NAB helped to defeat late in the last Congress. A performance rights measure has not been introduced in the new Congress.

NAB President Gordon Smith told Radio World earlier this year that he knows that a chip mandate would be “a tough sell.”But, he said at the time, “There is a very strong public policy reason for a mandate. In an age of terrorism [and] natural disasters, there is only one signal that keeps in operation when everything else is shutting down. And that’s that radio signal.”

— Leslie Stimson

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