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No Commissioner Commitment on FMs in Cellphones

Question came up during a session with NAB’s Gordon Smith

During a session with NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, several FCC commissioners declined to commit to mandating that FM radios must be included in cell phones.

It was the last question in the “Washington Face Off,” when Smith joked he’d “probably lose his job” if he didn’t ask a radio question. He could ask about LPFM or HD Radio, he said, but, settled on the issue of including FM chips in cellphones, saying there’s been “pushback” on the issue from wireless carriers. He asked whether the agency would consider approving a mandate, since “radio needs a platform that’s growing.”

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said “what you’re talking about is redundancy” — that radio works even when cell phones fail during emergencies. Neither Copps nor two of his colleagues would commit to a mandate, however.

Commissioner Meredith Baker said, “I love radio” and is pleased the digital power increase “is rolling out well,” but she said it’s up to the marketplace to decide the matter of whether to include FM capability in phones.