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FM Chip Can Help Broadcasters Keep Control of Airwaves

Smulyan and Brenner addressed Radio Show session

NextradioATLANTA — At a Thursday afternoon Radio Show session, “After AT&T and T-Mobile: Next Steps for NextRadio,” TagStation’s Paul Brenner was introduced as “the man,” and Emmis Communication’s Jeff Smulyan was called “the king” when it comes to advocating for FM chip smartphone activation.

NextRadio was born as a compelling interface, “a unified agnostic system that made radio cool again,” Smulyan said.

Brenner told a packed room that greater station participation in the NextRadio system will help persuade the last holdouts in the wireless world to come on board. He also noted that in the sphere of phone manufacturers, Apple has the most sway, and that company will not be easily persuaded by an app that they perceive is not finished or “slick” — which could be changed by grater station participation in the interactivity features.

He also called interactivity “critical to [broadcasters] future,” in part of its ability to increase listener engagement and also because of additional opportunities to monetize through interactive advertising.

Working with the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, Brenner says NextRadio has been increasing the number of spots it runs in Verizon’s home state, putting pressure on the carrier to activate FM chips in its phones.

Ultimately, Smulyan says that broadcasters won’t lose control of the airwaves if they get on board with NextRadio.