One major aspect for mandating FM radio in every cell phone (and making it ON remotely) may be requirement from emergency announcement and security response. In case of earthquake, tsunami, flash flood, terrorist attack etc. this may be able to save few life. Take an example of 9/11. Having cell phone with FM radio and making it ON remotely would have played significant difference to many lives. Same thing could be true for Virginia Technology University shooting incident.
I would also strongly recommend this form cultural point of view. You must get engaged to local community announcement and having this in cell phone may encourage family to do so. You may always use other options of your choice.
I can't think of a worse possible thing to do in a security scenario than what you describe as "making it ON remotely". Congratulations, that person who was successfully hiding from the shooter as quietly as they could possibly be, just had their location given away by their cell phone suddenly coming out of silent mode and squawking a warning. At which point the gunman realized there was a live witness nearby. Do you really want that innocent blood on your conscience? FM radio does NOTHING with emergency announcements that a text message wouldn't do better and more safely.
Mandating FM radio in every cell phone handset appears to be nothing more than a ploy to increase broadcast royalties. There is no other valid reason to include FM in a handset. For local community announcements, the wireless provider can send a text to every cell phone in the local area (such as the ones I get every time I get near the southern US border on IH-8 or IH-10) telling me what the costs are for services in that country. There are a number of things that can be done that would be far better and less obtrusive than requiring an unused FM receiver in every cell phone.
A federal, state or local mandate in the US for FM reception by mobile handset cry's out - - special interest!
This feature, in the not too distant had been available on mobile phones from both Nokia & Motorola. This seldom used feature by US consumers eventually feel off the feature-function marketing requirement list, and from this product engineer's perspective should stay out of the design of handsets until considerable consumer demand requires and begs for FM radio on the handset.
Here's a feature-function I'd like to see in mobile phones --- How about a quality of service requirement that would result in "fewer dropped calls."
Now this is a feature where we have pent-up consumer demand!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
That raised good point, if I have not connected headset will emergency radio work? If not whats the point in mandating it. Moreover my cell phone being controlled by someone else and turn on radio when I am not expecting... I would certainly not like that.
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.
P.S. My actual guess is that an FM radio would need a relatively large antenna relative to the size of my phone. Listening on 900MHz or 2GHz is one thing, but the 100MHz band has 10x the wavelength, therefore needs 10x the antenna.
The UK government plans to "switch off" the FM band sometime in the next few years. They say we should all "go digital". If that happens (and there's a great deal of push-back and criticism of the idea) there won't be much point in having an FM receiver in your cellphone. An FM _transmitter_ in your music player (or cellphone), now that's a different matter. When all the big FM transmitters fall silent, it'll be much easier to broadcast your own low power local signals...
What part of the US constitution gives the federal government the right to regulate this? O, I forgot, it must be the "interstate commerce clause". You Americans need to wake up and put and end to such nonsense.
Greetings from Germany.
I received this from the National Ass'n of Broadcasters on why FM is a good idea, read for yourself:
I am not convinced; it should be a user choice, not a mandate, IMO.
Considering the dwindling fortunes of broadcast industry, I’m not entirely surprised with this announcement. IMO, this is a last ditch effort by NAB to save its skin and by broadcasters to strike some sort of a ‘deal’ or else they’ll soon be out of business.
I, for one, am not willing to buy a cell phone with an FM radio, simply because I don’t need it. Why should I pay for a service which I’m never going to use? As for the excuse to use it as an emergency response procedure, give me a break. Any person reasonably familiar with cellphones and radio technologies knows that SMS works just as well for such situations. Therefore, the argument to include FM radio in so-called ‘public interest’ is a complete non-starter.
Does NAB really need to follow such dictator practices to bail out the struggling recording industry? Is innovation in radio technology dead? Or is the prospect of increased broadcast royalties overruling common sense?
- Keith Schaub
I have no personal interests in having FM on my cell and frankly don't know anyone who might be interested. This looks like a step backwards and smells from communist type thinking (disclosure, I was brought up in Eastern Europe where certain frequencies were forbidden and radio manufacturer had to comply). Most people I know listen to digital music (Ipod). Texting is sufficient for alerts etc. My 2 cents...Kris
How much will my monthly fee drop with the inclusion of this music advertising feature known as FM radio? That's how it will work isn't it, the NAB will be paying us to listen and then run out and buy their product?
Certainly, mandating FM in mobile phones is not the way to go. The world is moving towards wireless broadband and with LTE 4G wireless infrastructure in place in the next few years, all content will be delivered to the mobile phones over IP. With plenty of wireless bandwidth available on smartphones, we can expect innovative applications that could mimic FM like content services (such as Internet Radio) for those who need it. There is even scope for next generation emergency services that are rich in content (audio, graphic, video, text, alerts). So, the way to move forward is to let this evolution happen, to enrich user experience.
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All broadcasters are required to use emergency messaging equipment AM,FM and TV including cable. I can see the benefit of an FM Rx in the phone if you could have it lay quiet until an emergency code is received to open the squelch so to speak. The current cell infrastructure is already overloaded and a national emergency message sent to all phones via the cell infrastructure would probably cause more than one or two "burps".
If I could have the EAS system via FM and have it function when I wanted it to...I'd buy in...I listen to mostly old 60-70's stuff anyway and do so via MP3 in car and at home. I do listen to AM talk radio a lot while in the car. I do not listen to radio at home much anymore. I do have a favorite AM tube radio I listen to from time to time just to hear that classic AM sound. I grew up DX'ing Am radio as a kid, and have always been enamored with HF propagation as a result.
As an aside..all cell carriers have been working on limiting access to the network by customers during a national or local emergency of substantial size. FM may be the only way to get timely info for a while if all you have is a cell phone. 1st responders will have the net to themselves during this time. 911 realigned a lot of communications priorities.
First, based on the lack of programming that I would be willing to listen to on FM radio, why in the world would I want one more function to suck up battery minutes and make my phone more complex? If the broadcast industry want people to listen, the very first step will be to break up the monopoly of station ownership, and let each station sound different, instead of having all stations running the same format, which some accountant has determined reaches the most targeted listeners. The sad fact is that broadcast radio has been killed by the big broadcast giants. And the more that they try to revive it, the deader it becomes.
In jurisdictions where driving while talking on a hand held cell phone is illegal, will it be legal to listen to FM radio on a hand held cell phone while driving? (It really should be, if holding a pocket radio up to the ear is legal.) If so, will the traffic cop buy the excuse that the driver was listening to radio instead of engaging in a phone conversation, especially after the driver demonstrates that the phone is tuned to a radio station?
Interesting thought, personally I think holding the phone (or a radio) to your ear is a distraction from the road, hands free is a better idea, but here they want to ban that as well. Using your argument, that would mean that you can't have a passenger in your car because talking to them is a distraction. Even worse, you shouldn't have a screaming baby in the car that's an even bigger distraction, the kids should drive themselves.
I'm obviously just having a dig at the stupidity of it all, but has anyone ever stopped to think how dangerous menu driven entertainment systems are? I think the only controls that should be enabled while the car is in motion are actual knobs and buttons that effect a direct function. Otherwise saying you can't dial a number or check a message is just rubbish.
The music industry is asking for a quid with no pro quo. FM on cell phones will become marketing driven. Whether used or not, good marketers will make it a selling point and other manufacturers will be forced to adopt.
Meanwhile, the NAB is agreeing to a tax on stations to pay performers. No, wait! It's not performers. The money will go to the labels. Doesn't matter that most of it will leave the country. Doesn't matter that, once the labels "filter" it, little will get to performers. Doesn't matter that the real reason music sales are down isn't piracy (something radio doesn't contribute to) but that the problem is that the labels are releasing garbage. Doesn't matter that stations, with over 90% of them having 12 or fewer employees, will have to cut one job each (that's about 16,000 American voters put out of work).
...and what the labels and performers are too myopic to see is that Clearchannel and others, with their "tagging" may well be able to track EXACTLY who's performing well...and quit playing those that aren't. Then (insert talent name here) how ya gonna get your latest piece of junk sampled.
The excuse of placing FM receivers in Cell phones is weak at best as the "Go To" channels for everything from natuarl disasters to amber alerts is the weather alert frequency in your area. It would not be to much to program the limited number of frequencies into a location database or even have have the tower switch the handset to local emergency channel.
Mandating FM radios in cell phones is only for the good of the recording & music industries, and involving a disinterested third market is ludicrous.
Totally crazy to mandate it, that sort of thing should be driven by user demand. I had a phone once that had a radio built in and thought that's neat, won't have to carry my portable radio, but in the end my portable would run 2 weeks on an AAA cell and the phone had to be charged every 3 days, so I stuck to the radio. Also in Oz they're going the DAB+ route so all those FM radio's will be dead. Finally If they want us to listen to radio they should put more of what we want to listen to, not less, else I'll just go over to listening to the 4,000+ MP3 files I've made from my CD's and not have to listen to 20 commercials to get one song.
Artists need to be motivated to come up with new great stuff. We can't expect to listen beautiful music for free. However, from here and until putting an FM radio in every single cell phone is a long road. People who really want to listen to the radio install new cell phone accessories on their mobiles and they are free to choose the FM they like. That's how things should be.