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With Eyes on Congress, NAB Positions Cellphones as Better When Radio Is Included

“When disaster strikes, radio is always on and always there”

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NAB is bringing its campaign to get FM chips mandated in cellphones to lawmakers. It bought an ad favoring radio in cellphones in Politico, a newspaper aimed at members of Congress.

The ad features the tagline “When disaster strikes, radio is always on and always there.” NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton stated the tagline “stresses the reliance people place on radio during times of crises and the crucial role radio plays in keeping America safe.”

The ad includes a photo of a church school in Maryland that had its roof destroyed during this winter’s ice storms. The storms knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of residents in the Washington region.

“But radio was there,” reads the ad copy. “Families lucky enough to own battery-powered radios had one of the only sources of information during the days when the entire city was incapacitated. But if every cell phone had been equipped with a radio receiver, it would have been a different story. Cell phones can be made ‘radio ready’ with equipment that costs less than a dollar and weighs less than a tic tac.”

Earlier this week the broadcast trade organization released the results of a Harris poll it had commissioned, showing consumer interest in having radio on cellphones.

Wireless and consumer electronics manufacturing groups dispute those results, saying it’s not clear consumers want radio in their cellphones. They oppose a federal mandate for FM chips in cellphones and believe it would increase manufacturing costs.