NAB's Smith, RAB's Haley Focus On FM In Cell Phones
September 29, 2010 at 2:30 PM (PT)
The heads of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS and RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU greeted attendees at the joint NAB-RAB RADIO SHOW with a dose of positive thinking about the medium's future and a focus on getting FM tuners in cell phones.
NAB President and CEO GORDON SMITH reiterated the organization's position that FM tuners in cell phones be mandated by the government, stressing radio's "reliability" as compared to Internet and cell phone service. He suggested that opponents may be trying to protect their own streaming and paid services.
SMITH claimed that polls showing Americans not desiring radio on cell phones are a "myth," as is, he said, FM being a drain on the battery ("the radio chip would have little or no effect on battery life." He also said that adding radio to cell phones would cost "pocket change," and that the chip would not add significant weight or bulk to the phone. He called opponents' positions "false information" and said that adding radio would increase radio's reach and provide increased revenue opportunities for all parties, including song tagging. SMITH also noted that the radio tuner would not use data streams nor cost consumers through using limited bandwidth.
Raising the prospect of the performance royalty, SMITH said that "there is no agreement yet" on any deal that would trade off FM tuners in cell phones for a royalty. He said that there is strong bipartisan support for the adoption of FM tuners in cell phones based on its emergency capabilities, and he raised the issue of 9/11 as an example of why radio should be included in cell phones.
RAB President and CEO JEFF HALEY touted radio's record listening revenue and 6% year-to-date growth in his speech. "We are winning in radio this year," HALEY insisted, "and it feels pretty good." He likened radio's "comeback" to his son's football team, which lost ten in a row before finally winning a game. He also repeated the RAB's desire to get FM chips into mobile devices and claimed that over 70% of MP3 players carry FM tuners.
HALEY also noted that "all media are in the midst of profound change" and counseled radio personnel to learn about new media to avoid being in the position of having its listeners know more about it than they do.