Pai: Activate FM Chips in smartphone, but let the marketplace do this
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Thread: Pai: Activate FM Chips in smartphone, but let the marketplace do this

  1. #1

    Pai: Activate FM Chips in smartphone, but let the marketplace do this

    OK, so if the marketplace is going to force manufacturers to activate the FM chip, it's time for radio to do a full-court, in-your-face on-air campaign AGAINST Apple phones. (something I think should have happened at least a year or two ago) Discuss.

    http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/16/14636508/ajit-pai-smartphone-fm-radio-activation

  2. #2
    Apple has their fanboys, who are really, really dedicated.
    I don't think they can be pressured to go along with this absent government action.

  3. #3
    The IPhone is the #1 selling smartphone worldwide at 1 billion in 2016 alone. Compare that number with .0001% of smartphone owners that might actually care whether their phone has a functional FM tuner inside. That, and there is this little matter of an antenna. With phones moving away from corded headphones, that ship has sunk before it even sailed.

  4. #4
    There are a lot of Apple fanboys embedded in the radio biz. And more than a few station owners, including a good friend of mine who uses an Apple.

    Whether Mr. Pai is indeed a free-market purist or a pragmatic jurist, I don't know. I suspect the latter. If it's going to require legislation to force the manufacturers and carriers to activate the chips, we all know where that's going.

    And sorry, Kelly, but I have to reject that argument. Currently, I would agree that only .0001% of smartphone owners care about a functioning FM chip. That's because the wet noodle radio industry isn't aggressive in rolling out a campaign for NextRadio and smartphones w/activated FM chips. You cannot move the marketplace if you don't stimulate the market to want your product.

    An antenna can be affixed to the USB port of a smartphone as easily as through a soon to be obsolete headphone jack.

    Make no mistake, this is about survival. No need to put on the white gloves to a knife fight. And it starts with us. I have a good friend who owns a couple of small town stations who also owns an Apple phone. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm cooking up a campaign for his stations which I'll call "Brick Your Apple."

  5. #5
    Like two little stations will move the needle much, but it's a start...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    You cannot move the marketplace if you don't stimulate the market to want your product.
    Consumers don't know they want something until it exists. When they see it, and they like it, they will want it. They're not getting a fair chance for that in this case.

  7. #7
    The more I think about it, I'm not sure the NextRadio effort pushes far enough. The plan relies on carriers and device makers to play nice with their app/chip efforts.

    I've wondered why their isn't a $50-100 "smartradio" running off of Android (or a forked version). I'm mostly thinking of a cheaper, modern follow up to what the "Samsung Galaxy Player" was, a direct answer to the iPod Touch. And really, it's not just the smartphone that killed the standalone MP3 player--it's likely an old smartphone out of service, or possibly a new (and cheap) smartphone intended for prepaid service. I myself have used a prepaid Windows Phone and an Android device to listen to MP3s, podcasts, and in the case of my Nokia 520, listen to the FM radio.

    Why not have a 'smartradio' that is similarly cheap sans 3G/4G voice internals, but with Wi-Fi and FM Radio with NextRadio naturally baked in, along with an MP3 player and streaming apps (TuneIn, iHeartRadio, etc.) This might be the first terrestrial radio device someone's bought in years. Maybe make an effort to be in primary AND secondary mobile devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post

    An antenna can be affixed to the USB port of a smartphone as easily as through a soon to be obsolete headphone jack.
    This is potentially better than what I came up with if you can make a receiver small enough using USB and USB-C. Could a company make it cheap enough?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    Whether Mr. Pai is indeed a free-market purist or a pragmatic jurist, I don't know. I suspect the latter. If it's going to require legislation to force the manufacturers and carriers to activate the chips, we all know where that's going.
    The reality is that the FCC doesn't regulate noise-causing electronic devices like light bulbs, switching power supplies, etc. Do you really think they would force consumer electronics manufacturers to install working radios in phones? Answer? No.

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    And sorry, Kelly, but I have to reject that argument. Currently, I would agree that only .0001% of smartphone owners care about a functioning FM chip. That's because the wet noodle radio industry isn't aggressive in rolling out a campaign for NextRadio and smartphones w/activated FM chips. You cannot move the marketplace if you don't stimulate the market to want your product.
    You're right about one thing, that it would take a major push and financial commitment by broadcasters too, but that ain't gonna happen. Remember the beginnings of HD Radio? The sum total of broadcaster financial commitment, even with the principals in the game, was to run free, some would argue cryptic, spots on stations running HD. When it comes to broadcasters hiring PR firms, lawyers, or lobbyists to forward the cause of requiring FM tuners in smartphones? No shot. Your argument is similar to the tiny minority that was going to push for the resurrection of AM stereo back in the early 2000's . "Well gee wiz, if I run my 1,000 watt Class D station with AM stereo, it could start a trend!" Reality is, just like forcing FM tuner in phones: Water molecule in an ocean. And of course don't forget, consumers don't care about listening to a radio, let alone via their phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    An antenna can be affixed to the USB port of a smartphone as easily as through a soon to be obsolete headphone jack.
    Take a trip in Mr. Peabody's Wayback machine to 1978: The Sony Walkman used the headphones as an antenna. One of the reasons for the demise of the Walkman? From the consumer perspective, the listening experience was inconsistent. A runner turning the corner had reception start breaking up or get noisy. You shift the antenna around for a better signal, but move slightly and it got bad again. You really think a modern consumer with a phone that can hear AV streaming, Pandora, Spotify, Podcasts, whatever, are going to put up with having to move an antenna around for acceptable reception? Eventually Sony eliminated the radio tuner, and went straight cassette player, just about the time CD's arrived on the scene. Other than car radios, the days of portable radio receivers are numbered.

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    Make no mistake, this is about survival. No need to put on the white gloves to a knife fight. And it starts with us. I have a good friend who owns a couple of small town stations who also owns an Apple phone. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm cooking up a campaign for his stations which I'll call "Brick Your Apple."
    Yeah good luck with that. Do you really think someone who pays $600 for a phone is going to get rid of it because someone like you thinks they're a fan boy? What rock did you crawl from under?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    Other than car radios, the days of portable radio receivers are numbered.
    It's really quite hard to find a portable FM tuner these days. Querying my local Walmart's inventory, they have one model in stock, RCA brand, with only 1-star reviews.

    I also recently purchased a set of headphones from CVS with an FM tuner included. The tuner is so bad I can't reliably tune a class B1 station at 6 miles using them.
    "Its music what makes a radio station, and at Live FM, we play the last music around."
    After receiving that copy, I quit the VO industry.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post

    Other than car radios, the days of portable radio receivers are numbered.
    So because of bad antennas, the portable radio is dead? If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we make a better antenna? Or does a better antenna exist, but just isn't being incorporated in portable radios? It shouldn't be too tough to fix. If the will was there to fix it.

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