Mobile Industry Vows To Fight Inclusion Of FM Tuners In Devices As Part Of Royalty Agreement
August 19, 2010 at 4:45 AM (PT)
As ALL ACCESS reported TUESDAY (NET NEWS 8/17), the battle to add an FM tuner to mobile devices as part of a royalty fee compromise continues to heat up, and now THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reports "new rivals to broadcast radio have grown stronger and drawn more listeners as digital music players and streaming Internet radio have flourished. If Congress approves the compromise with the FM radio mandate, it would be a victory for NAB, which is seeking to expand radio station audiences."
The RIAA, musicFIRST COALITION and THE NAB all feel the compromise is a win for consumers. musicFIRST spokesperson MARTY MACHOWSKY said FM radio on cell phones "would give consumers more ways to listen to and enjoy music."
NAB EVP DENNIS WHARTON added, "said such a requirement would provide a valuable public service -- particularly in emergencies, when consumers often tune into local stations seeking critical public safety information."
CEA Pres. GARY SHAPIRO had some sharp words about the idea, and now CTIA (The Wireless Industry's Association) VP/Government Affairs JOT CARPENTER told the AP, "There is not a huge desire to listen to over-the-air, ad-laden radio" on mobile handsets. Phones with FM radio chips are not in high demand. he noted.
Meanwhile, ARSTECHNICA.COM reports consumer electronics manufacturers will actually cut a deal on including a mandatory FM tuner in every device they produce -- "if the price is right (and legislation looks inevitable)."
That deal won't happen without a nasty fight though, as the CEA is threatening to help increase royalty fees on radio if forced to carry their signals on mobile devices. "If it appears that the absurd mandate moves forward in Congress," CEA told ARSTECHNICA.COM, "we will continue to protect the interest of our more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies and will fight for the royalty to be vastly increased and shared with those having to bear the cost of the mandate."