Thursday, August 26, 2010

FM Chips in Mobile Devices...Good or Bad??

by Jessica Northey

I read an article yesterday in Radio Business Report titled, "The pros and cons of an FM chip in mobile devices"
"We all know by now that NAB and the RIAA may ask Congress to require that new mobile phones include an FM receiver chip. The idea emerged in a proposed compromise for a dispute over whether musicians and record companies should receive royalty payments from radio stations that air their tunes."

I was curious what the Radio community thought about this, so I did what I often do and tweeted about the article and asked for feedback. One of my favorite people in Radio and on Twitter, Buck Stevens, On-Air Personality with B104 Country gave me a quick 140 Character Response.  
I asked if he had a second and could "double click" on this idea. 

Here is what he sent me:

We live in a time that technology seems to be advancing faster than most people can keep up. As soon as a new way of doing something is introduced, many start saying “Oh, well that's the end of ....”. While in many cases this does come to pass (i.e. cassette tapes, Beta and VHS Video, etc.), when it comes to information and entertainment, the basic remains constant: the devises may improve, but we still listen to music (which takes an artist to record, STILL) and watch movies/shows (which need actors to make, STILL). The way most people STILL get these forms of entertainment and information is through Radio and TV stations. Again, the technology inside the devices may have advanced, but the basics remain.

Now to the question at hand, “Should mobile devices include an FM chip inside?” I think this is a good idea. I work for a radio station in Bloomington/Normal, IL (B104, WBWN FM, Townsquare Media) and we stream our signal through an Application called Radiolicious for mobile devices. Most radio stations have made their signal available for mobile devices through similar Applications. This allows most of the public to listen to their favorite stations via their mobile device.

The only problem is with mobile signal strength and internet connection. These Applications require the signal to be delivered to them through the internet, which can have connection issues. In addition, if the individual’s mobile devise has a weak signal where they happen to be, the Application may not run properly. By including an FM chip in mobile devices, this would allow the user to access the station directly from the FM signal the station broadcasts, which will likely be a stronger signal in the market they serve. It removes the variables of phone/internet connectivity. This would allow all mobile users to get the desired information and/or entertainment on demand just about anywhere in the area they are in at any time.

I believe the future holds great advances for us all. I also believe that some of the most advantageous advances will be in the combination of both new AND time tested technologies.

(Thanks Buck!!)

What do you think?

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