Congress gives radio and wireless industries a nudge toward a FM-cell phone compromise. A microchip and a U.S. House committee chairman are proving to be the needed catalysts to jumpstart efforts to get FM receivers installed and activated in mobile phones. A Capitol Hill roundtable put the radio and wireless industries at the same table, and while there’s no appetite in Congress to force a mandate, their attention may be enough to nudge the two industries closer together. “This is the start of serious dialogue,” predicts Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, who’s been among those leading the industry’s effort with cell phone companies. The Tuesday summit was called by Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Gus Bilirakis. He says he received “valuable insight” from broadcasters and the phone companies but signals he still thinks it’s better for the two industries to work out a solution. “The best ideas and innovation come from the private sector, not the federal government,” Bilirakis says. Smulyan says the industry doesn’t want a government mandate, but hopes instead to find a business solution that will work for radio stations and mobile companies. The development of a new HD chipset may be the sweetener cell phone providers have been waiting for. “With the new HD chip, we have a business application that I think will get them interested,” Smulyan says. “Our job is to continue pushing this and now that the chip is ready, we can push and also provide a business solution.” Besides beaming digital radio signals, the chipset opens up new content options for listeners and marketing opportunities for advertisers. For example, an action button that places a call to a local merchant, downloads a coupon to the device, or places an appointment into its calendar. Full screen ads and mapping integration are also included. And music sales from song-tagging could also be routed to a carrier’s online music store. “There are business opportunities here and now it’s a question of how we put them together,” Smulyan says.
Excerpt from Inside Radio- April 26, 2012
Inside Radio- FM chips.pdf (2.07 mb)