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What’s Next for Stations and FM App?

Now comes the heavy promotion for the new HTC rollout

Now that Sprint has announced the availability of FM in two models of its HTC smartphones, stations will help promote the product.

Emmis Chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan says some 70 of the top 75 radio groups in radio have pledged to contribute $15 million worth of ad inventory to the carrier annually for three years. “That level of support blew me away,” said Smulyan, who’s been working on the chip effort for several years.

A couple of the larger groups are still considering the idea and “thousands” of small stations have come onboard, according to Smulyan, all saying, “I want to do my share.”

That share comes from a formula based on revenue.

Some 1,500 stations, including groups like Beasley, CBS Radio, Greater Media and Hubbard, are part of the effort. So too are noncommercial stations, according to Smulyan. “We hope every radio station in America, public or private, will find new ways to engage with their audiences because we think it’s a game-changer for our industry.”

The Emmis executive continues: “Everybody’s looking at this as a new way to relate to our listeners in a device where we don’t go through the data networks, it’s free for our audiences and in the device that 300 million Americans carry with them every day.”

Smulyan tells Radio World, “Now that we’ve launched, we want to roll this out” and promote the phones. That includes getting the FM-enabled phones in the hands of on-air talent as well as listeners.

“That’s the goal,” said Smulyan. “We want people to know they can get radio when they’re carrying their cellphone, as they all do every day.”