Whenever the politicians get involved it is sure to cost the consumer and the producers especially when special interests are involved. Next thing we will see is a mandated FM receiver in the mp3 players when the radio industry realizes there is more money to be made there. After all, listeners tuned out and turned off FM/AM radio for the joy of commercial free user selected music on personal players. Please let us push back on stupid legislation.
This has nothing to do with emergency alerts. It is quite simply a recording industry bailout. The difference is this time the NAB is involved for it's own self-interested reasons. An FM receiver in every cell phone would give a boost to FM radio audience numbers and help radio stations better compete -- if not in reality, then at least in theory.
The NAB is hoping it can get this tuner mandate imposed on cell phones in much the same way that the ATSC digital off-air tuner mandate was imposed on TV manufacturers for the U.S. market a few years ago. Nevermind the fact that almost nobody uses those off-air HDTV tuners -- the mere fact that every modern TV includes one gives the NAB some hope that a few more years of profits can be squeezed out of the obsolete business model of U.S. commercial TV broadcasting. Now they want to do the same for their FM radio broadcaster members.
If the phone is off, as it usually will be, an emergency message will not be received. Also, AM radio, not FM, is used for emergencies!
Finally, how many emergencies occur to people NOT in emergency zones such as at sea in a boat or skiing on Mt. Rainier? Those people use scanners or other dedicated emergency receivers.
What good would have been done by broadcasting to cell phones on FM band during the 9-11 attacks? Such broadcasts would have INTERFERED with emergency cell communications.
How many tsunamis or floods have occurred recently during which an "emergency warning" would have helped?
During Katrina, in New Orleans, people would have tuned in on their radios, not sat around with cell phones on, waiting for an emergency message.
Do we really need government mandates by people obsessed with "emergencies", when the current threat is CHRONIC unemployment and recession?
Bailing out radio industry is one aspect. However, we really doubt its efficacy.
But I see distinct difference between text message and forced and loud radio message. If I am working on something interesting/ important or talking to someone, I will not read text message at that time. I will wait until it is over. This may be few seconds to few minutes. However, when a radio switches on remotely at high pitch with sudden announcement, it will get my attention immediately. The difference of attention by few seconds saves lives. Is not that the purpose of smoke detector – it makes alert sooner and those few second gives us chance to escape.
I was hoping that this was going to be a safety issue as hm said, but I caught this article on Information Week (http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=226900096&subSection=News) only to discover that this is a non-taxpayer funded bailout of the radio industry and the recording industry. In exchange for bumping up bogus listener numbers to boost ad sales, the NAB is promising to to pay the recording industry $100M annually for broadcasting music. what a waste of effort.
It is already possible to broadcast messages to mbile phones - by texting. That is more effective than FM radio since you will receive the message also if your phone is off at the time of broadcasting. This method is already used in several countries.
Politicians mandating technical features is not how I prefer to life. If a need a nanny I will hire one.