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Ramsey: Listeners’ Say They Use Apps More Than FM in Cellphones

Says study shows ‘a significant number’ already have FM integrated into their mobile devices

Audience research consultant Mark Ramsey says listeners use personalized radio apps way more than they listen to FM on their cellphones, questioning the industry push to mandate FM chips in mobile devices.

In a survey he designed on mobile radio applications conducted by VIP Media Research, Ramsey suggests consumers are not clamoring for radio on their cellphones, echoing the wireless industry’s position. Nearly 20% of the nearly 1,350 respondents have FM radio built-in to their cellphones, according to the research. Ramsey calls that “a significant number” and adds that more than half say they never use the feature, while 19% say they use the radio feature “a few times a week” or “nearly every day.”

The findings suggest some use of the feature, but not as much as one would use radio in their car, according to Ramsey. “A mobile phone is not a car without the wheels.” The results of the survey are not exactly a ringing endorsement for the integration of radio into cellphones, believes Ramsey.

When compared to the respondent’s use of personalized apps like Pandora and Slacker (31.5%), and single-station apps (5%), results show U.S. listeners with mobile phones are almost twice as likely to download a personalized radio app as they are to have FM (17.5%) integrated into their device, says Ramsey.

In a related note, iBiquity Digital President/CEO Bob Struble this week stated on his blog the reason many cellphone carriers and manufacturers are resisting integrating radio into their devices in the U.S. is because of the spotty way local stations have implemented Radio Broadcast Data Service. The wireless industry doesn’t like inconsistent implementation, he states. European stations have more consistent implementation of their version of RBDS, and more European cellphones have an integrated FM feature, he notes.