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NJBA Pushes Verizon to Activate FM Chip

Broadcast group calls it a “public service initiative”

The New Jersey Broadcasters Association hopes to put a little Garden State muscle to work on hometown company Verizon.

Noting that three big U.S. cellular carriers — Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile — have expressed various levels of support for FM chips in smartphones, the association reminded its members in an email that Verizon has yet to do so with phones under its plans. Verizon’s operations headquarters are in Basking Ridge, N.J.

The association urged the carrier to activate the chips and implored the industry to push the company. “President Paul Rotella suggests that all broadcasters and members of the public should consider sending a letter to Verizon President & CEO Lowell McAdam or calling him on his direct line … asking, ‘Why is it, in their home state, which was ground zero for Sandy, Verizon is the only carrier not willing to turn on the FM chip?’”

NJBA describes activation of FM chips as a “public service initiative” and believes that activation “may now rise to be a matter of national security in the uncertain environment we find ourselves in as we are barraged by terror and health threats almost on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.”

“The NJBA respectfully request that all New Jersians (and indeed all Americans) have access to emergency broadcasts regardless of the breadth of a national emergency, which can only be accomplished through the immediate activation of FM chips in all smart phones, including those serviced by Verizon as a matter of public safety just as air bags and seatbelts in automobiles were required years ago.”