Pai: Activate FM Chips in smartphone, but let the marketplace do this - Page 2
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Thread: Pai: Activate FM Chips in smartphone, but let the marketplace do this

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    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.
    Antennas are pretty much based on physics and the length of AM and FM wave lengths.

    Improved materials have helped a bit over the decades (things like ferrite) but technology can't change the laws of physics... just make inadequate devices work a tad betteder.

    Folks have been trying for nearly a century to make smaller, shorter AM transmission antennas (antennae?). Al the "solutions" end up being less and less efficient. The same applies to reception antennas.

    FM has no work around for having to have height and power. This is all the more critical with the degradation of reception antennas... shark fins and windshield embedded... which require more signal to get the same reception as with an old whip antenna.


    Kelly or Schrodinger's Cat, any comments?
    Last edited by DavidEduardo; 02-18-2017 at 10:17 PM.
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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    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.
    First question Kelly: Did you actually read and comprehend my post? For convenience, it's repeated here. "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."

    My apologies for speaking in subtle tones, so I'll restate it. Mr. Pai, while sympathetic to the cause of activating FM chips, wants the marketplace to decide the issue. Legislation won't happen in this Congress on much of anything, let alone activating FM chips.

    You are correct that the radio industry has a dismal record in promoting HD Radio. "Past performance does not guarantee future results" but it's a safe bet that negativity in uninspired corporate suites will lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy you predict.

    "Brick Your Apple" ...sure, it's absurd. So is filling Lake Michigan with hot chocolate topped with 25,000 tons of whipped cream. I don't claim to be even a barnacle on Stan Freberg's boat. It's an attention grabber. The smartphone replacement cycle, while slowing over the last year, is still about three to four years. A couple of small town radio stations have nothing to lose by actively campaigning against Apple and other manufacturers' smart phones that don't have active FM chips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    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?
    What bridge did you crawl from under? You're welcome to your opinions, but not your tone. I don't normally write snarky comments such as "Trolls who live under bridges shouldn't cast stones" or other such drivel unless provoked.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post
    [FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"][SIZE="3"]

    Antennas are pretty much based on physics and the length of AM and FM wave lengths.

    Improved materials have helped a bit over the decades (things like ferrite) but technology can't change the laws of physics... just make inadequate devices work a tad betteder.

    Folks have been trying for nearly a century to make smaller, shorter AM transmission antennas (antennae?). Al the "solutions" end up being less and less efficient. The same applies to reception antennas.

    FM has no work around for having to have height and power. This is all the more critical with the degradation of reception antennas... shark fins and windshield embedded... which require more signal to get the same reception as with an old whip antenna.
    Completely true David. Physics don't change. A vertical is a vertical, a dipole a dipole. There is no physical way you can squeeze even an 1/8 wave antenna into a phone case, nor would anyone want to futz with some external whip or cable connected to a USB port on their phone.

    Back in 2009 right after the DTV transition, some station groups were pushing a portable ATSC DTV tuner design that was about the size of (what is now) an IPhone 6. It had a telescoping collapsible whip antenna on a swivel, sort of like the type you'd find on some small AM-FM portable radios. Consumers HATED it. Absolutely zero interest. In fact, almost all responded with comments like: Why would I own one of these cumbersome things when I can stream live video on my phone?

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    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.
    An Ancient Modulation receiving antenna is impossible in a smartphone because the phone is way too thin to accommodate the required ferrite core and the 100-200 turns of wire that are required. Those antennas were installed in old fashioned shirt pocket radios of approximately the same height and width as a smartphone, but they were thick enough to hold that kind of antenna.

    FM requires a wire or rod antenna that's roughly 27" long (1/4 wavelength at 100 MHz) to work properly. A shorter antenna can be matched to the radio chip/circuit, as can the audio leads of a pair of ear buds, but the efficiency is lower and the potential to pick up every station in your area is reduced, even if the tuner circuit is highly sensitive and selective. It can't tune stations that the antenna doesn't pick up. Besides, with bluetooth earpieces making wires obsolete, why would anyone want a wire just hanging off the end of their phone just to listen to FM? Most of those stations are available via TuneIn or their own apps anyway.

    The built-in antennas for cell service, GPS, WiFi, etc. work because those services use upper-UHF and SHF (microwave) frequencies, above 1000 MHz. Because of the high frequencies and shorter wavelengths, efficient antennas such as fractals can be etched onto the circuit board and work very well. Having cell sites in one's neighborhood (and your WiFi modem in your house) also helps, rather than having FM stations on top of a tower and/or mountains and AM stations on whatever land they could install their towers on, both of which are usually many miles away.
    We have to save the Earth! It's the only planet with football and beer.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    Past performance does not guarantee future results" but it's a safe bet that negativity in uninspired corporate suites will lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy you predict.
    I'm not being prophetic, the reality is all around you. Smartphones are the replacement for radios as aural entertainment and information. I've been, and continue in broadcasting for the past 30+ years. It doesn't mean I'm predicting the demise of radio, but right or wrong, it certainly isn't what it used to be. Wishing it was different, or wanting things to be like it was back in the 60's and 70's is a waste of time and energy. Time to join the 21 Century.

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    "Brick Your Apple" ...sure, it's absurd. So is filling Lake Michigan with hot chocolate topped with 25,000 tons of whipped cream. I don't claim to be even a barnacle on Stan Freberg's boat. It's an attention grabber. The smartphone replacement cycle, while slowing over the last year, is still about three to four years. A couple of small town radio stations have nothing to lose by actively campaigning against Apple and other manufacturers' smart phones that don't have active FM chips.
    You said it. That entire paragraph is more absurdity and silliness. Even if small market stations were stupid enough to lobby for the "bricking" of cell phones, they probably deserve to go out of business. It's business 101: You don't attack the more popular competition beating you 100/1, you find your audience niche and super-serve them. If you can't do that, then you should find another line of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    What bridge did you crawl from under? You're welcome to your opinions, but not your tone. I don't normally write snarky comments such as "Trolls who live under bridges shouldn't cast stones" or other such drivel unless provoked.
    That's your problem if you're interpreting my comments as a "tone" you don't like. "Hiding under a rock", is an expression of someone who may be out of touch with modern society.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post

    You are correct that the radio industry has a dismal record in promoting HD Radio. "Past performance does not guarantee future results" but it's a safe bet that negativity in uninspired corporate suites will lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy you predict.
    I won't comment on the rest of the Snark-o-Gram, but you are wrong here.

    In the executive suites folks long ago concluded that HD is not going to keep people on over the air radio. Folks are not going to buy new radios to get HD. They are not buying radios at all unless they are attached to cars.

    So HD may be useful for thinks like certain ethnic formats or data for real time traffic, but there is no payback in adding high cost formats on the HD sub-channels because consumers just do not want stand-alone radios. And HD is not coming to smartphones; HD is digital and requires an energy sucking DAC to work.

    Less than 10% of car radios have HD, and with cars being replaced at about 5% of the market each year, it would be more than a decade just to get half of all car radios HD-equipped. And that assumes that 100% of next year's cars all have HD!

    HD is a platform that consumers have passed by. They want all their entertainment option on multifunction devices such as tablets and smartphones, not a new radio.
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  7. #17
    I thought this thread's topic was enabling/placing FM chips in smartphones. How did it turn into the battle of the HD bands?

    I have an FM enabled smartphone but I rarely use it. If I am listening to music through my phone it is usually stored music and not OTA radio. Virtually all my OTA radio listening is through online streaming or via the car radio (in which I spend less than an hour per week on average). I don't find wired earbuds to be a big distraction when listening though and would never considering spending big bucks to get a phone just for wireless earbuds.

    I have a very high end HD audio system in my car but as I have said before several times, I cannot tell the difference between multiplexed FM and HD FM. Good signals on both sound alike but definitely not worth the cost of a stand alone HD receiver.
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  8. #18
    Thanks for steering this back to topic. IBOC (I hate to call it HD when the bit rate is 144 kb/sec and usually less) has at present one major advantage: feeding analog FM translators.

    Now, let's take for the sake of argument that all analog broadcasts on the FM band have been silenced. You now have to connect to your local radio station's stream.

    Let's say the little county seat station covers 20,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65. Time spent listening to radio per day is declining...RAB stats show about 15 hours per week per person, or a little over two hours a day. I'm going to use 1.5 hours/day.

    20000 x 1.5 hrs/day x 20% share of market x 12 songs /hr x $0.0017 / song = $122.40 in royalties due. That's over $40,000 per year.

    Granted a 20% share is rather high. At 10%, we're still talking over $20k/yr. Then there's the costs paid to your server farm to handle, let's say 500 to 1000 simultaneous connections.

    Should these additional royalty costs be considered part of the cost of doing business in our current environment? For now, I'd say no. I'd be inclined to not stream any music content. People can listen to the station over-the-air, or I could pay-wall the online music content at, let's say .0025 /song per head and you can pay up if you want the convenience of listening to my station on-line. And, forget about listening to pro sports over the on-line stream of any radio station. It's OTA only. If you want online audio streaming of major league baseball, that's $20 a year. (Some rabid baseball fans might say that's worth the price to access all of the MLB games. Most just care about their home team.)

    Or maybe, you'd like to have your smartphone with an activated FM chip.

  9. #19
    Once you turn off the rusty tower and move to a 1 to 1 relationship, there's no need for a "radio station" to exist.

    Amazon, Pandora, YouTube, and their competitors, are there ready to absorb the listenership. What Boom Woof Broadcasting in Muncie Indiana has to pay in royalties if their whole listenership goes to their web stream is completely immaterial, because it won't happen.
    "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. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by joebtsflk1 View Post
    Should these additional royalty costs be considered part of the cost of doing business in our current environment? For now, I'd say no. I'd be inclined to not stream any music content. People can listen to the station over-the-air, or I could pay-wall the online music content
    As usual it's a complicated thing, because radio stations view these things differently. There are a lot of radio stations who would agree with you. Streaming is an expense that draws listeners away from the OTA signal. Yes, that's a problem. However, you can't ignore what's happening to the audience for that signal. And there are a lot of factors that radio companies don't control, such as the lack of portable radios or cool devices that can receive OTA signals. The Amazon Echo and Google Home are fun cool devices that receive radio, but only via TuneIn. Imagine if it was designed to receive OTA signals. So there's really nothing radio stations can do about that. You either follow the audience, or you stand the chance of becoming irrelevant. Which do you prefer?

    There is a belief that radio has to invest in the future. That's what iHeart and CBS did with their online presences, and the hope is that if you build it, they will come, and that includes revenue. Monetization is a problem, but sometimes you have to take a chance on the future. We live in a world where content is disposable, where content isn't valued, and where consumers see content as a right. They resent the idea of a paywall for music or news. So you have to keep that in mind when you launch a pay product. I'm sure iHeart thought long and hard before they launched their premium service. It's been an issue for Apple and Pandora as well. The good news for radio is it has a revenue stream that Pandora doesn't have. At least for now. So what stations are doing, for the most part, is focusing on establishing their brands, and giving people a choice between the various types of content. That's all they can do.

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