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CEA: Broadcasters Should Stop Begging Congress


Not to be outdone by Smulyan, the President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association Gary Shapiro told Congress he was "sad to report that we are still fighting efforts to mandate the incorporation of old technologies in new products – namely, radio broadcasters’ demands that Congress forcibly intervene in the marketplace and require analog radio receivers be installed in a host of digital devices." Shapiro blasted Smulyan's claim that radio is necessary to alert consumers during a tornado, saying it defies logic.

Shapiro said the "vast majority of radio stations" are automated so how can they really be helping consumers. "Some stations do have people present during specific periods of time, such as morning drive time, but operate unattended during other periods. When it comes to informing their audiences about time sensitive information unattended stations typically either don’t do it at all, or are very slow to get the information out. This is because to operate in unattended mode the programming has to be planned out and recorded well in advance. Unattended operation is great for consumers because it provides all of us with easy access to services whenever we need them. However, if we need urgent, timely service in a crisis an unattended business is usually not much help. If there is a local emergency in your community it will be easy to find pre-recorded programming on unattended radio stations, but hard to find up-to-date information about the crisis."

Shapiro said that in the event of an emergency, people increasing use their mobile phones to access the Internet or platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. "The services provide specific and localized information that is often more helpful than a generalized radio update. Finally, and most important, wireless carriers and the federal government are already rolling out a system to provide geographically targeted emergency alerts. The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, deployed this past April, will transmit emergency alerts for severe weather, as well as AMBER alerts for missing children and Presidential Alerts for national emergencies. The text based messages are vastly more effective than FM transmissions because they will instantly be displayed on the phone. A warning sent by analog radio is useless unless you happen to be listening to the radio at the exact moment the radio is transmitted."

Shapiro added, "CEA opposes not only a mandate for FM chips in cell phones, but also opposes the broadcasters’ current effort to require a government study of this issue. The marketplace has shown that Americans are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what functions and features they want in their smart phones. Wasting taxpayer funds for something as absurd an unnecessary mandate on innovation is the kind of special interest-driven expenditure that frustrates average Americans. The correct answer for broadcasters, however, is not to beg Congress to protect their historic business model. Instead, broadcasters must do what other industries do when faced with new market entrants – learn to compete smarter and harder. Indeed, if the broadcasters wish to compete effectively, redoubling their commitment to HD Radio would be a good first step."

(6/11/2012 5:39:27 PM)
Smell the rotting Dinosaur Broadcasters' silly attempt to stop the decline of iboc

- judy
(6/7/2012 9:44:27 PM)
Have you ever tried to access wireless broadband after a hurricane, tornado or a major storm. Radio played a major role in getting critical information out during 9/11. Not every station is automated all the time. Why does the FCC want to mandate the EAS or CAP system if radio is a non issue in emergency situations. I agree, who cares about HD. We are talking about standard radio reception that reaches millions everyday, and in times of crisis.

- Damon Collins
(6/7/2012 7:57:07 AM)
This is simply a ploy by Big Group Radio and the NAB, as iBiquity investors, to backdoor HD Radio chipsets into cell phones. Watch out cell phone industry!

- Gregory

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