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Chip Fight. Chip Fight.

7-12-2012

Christopher Guttman-McCabe
CTIA The Wireless Association
1400 16th Street, NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Chris:

On behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), I am writing to suggest that we work together to correct the record of the June 6, 2012, hearing entitled, The Future of Audio, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

NAB has discovered that certain information provided by you to the committee concerning the number of broadcast radio-enabled mobile phone devices was erroneous. Specifically, you repeatedly referred to the June 2012 Buyers Guide from Best Buy even holding it up for members of Congress to review and stated that the Best Buy Guide included 26 broadcast radio-enabled mobile devices. You also stated on several occasions that there are at least 59 devices today that have an FM chip included. Research by NABs Technology department indicates 12 of the 26 mobile devices in the Best Buy Guide you referenced are not equipped to receive free, ove -the-air radio. This includes all of the Samsung devices, as well as all the devices offered by Virgin Mobile, Cricket and MetroPCS. Presumably, all 26 devices were included in your total figure of 59 radio-enabled devices, making that number inaccurate as well.

We believe that it is important to inform the subcommittee that this information concerning the availability of radio-enabled mobile phones was inaccurate. Its important that members of Congress, including Representative Anna Eshoo (CA- 14) who specifically relied on CTIAs data to conclude that market forces have met consumer demand for radio-enabled devices are provided accurate

information to reach well-founded decisions.

During the hearing, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Communications described the difficulty that consumers encounter trying to identify the few mobile devices that include activated radio chips. He also noted the extreme difficulty if not the impossibility of finding a mobile phones radio feature listed on wireless carriers websites or locating a salesperson or customer service representative who knows which phones are radio-enabled. That you were also apparently mistaken on this information further demonstrates how difficult it is to determine which products have broadcast radio capability.

Despite these challenges, NAB is encouraged by modest progress made to provide consumers with more options for radio-enabled mobile devices. Recent research indicates that a significant percentage of consumers view radio as an attractive feature, and would choose to purchase a radio-enabled device if they were more aware of this option. NAB and radio broadcasters want to work with the wireless industry to better inform the public about the benefits of radio-enabled mobile devices. This effort should involve providing consumers with an accurate account of which devices include this capability. We believe that a coordinated effort will benefit consumers as well as both the wireless and radio industries.

NAB looks forward to further exploring this matter with CTIA.

Sincerely,
Jane E. Mago
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
National Association of Broadcasters

---

What seems to be lost on NAB, yet is evident to everyone else, is that consumers have numerous opportunities to purchase wireless devices with FM radio capabilities. While we are not in the business of defending the Best Buy catalog, NABs letter concedes that it does highlight multiple FM-capable phones, and the catalog is only one source of information on the availability and capabilities of wireless handsets. While there is scant evidence that consumers in the United States desire FM service on their mobile device, we believe that, to the extent consumers want FM capability in their phones, the wireless industry will deliver. Whether its through the introduction of technologies like Bluetooth, GPS, near field communications, cameras, high resolution video, or the availability of applications, including extremely popular music services, like TuneIn, Pandora, Spotify and Slacker, wireless devices continue to evolve and deliver what consumers want, when they want it and where they want it.

Christopher Guttman-McCabe
CTIA The Wireless Association




(7/16/2012 2:07:44 PM)
Doesn't it seem ironic that radio companies and related bigwigs favored deregulation of the industry to fuel their growth. Now they want a regulation to force FM chips into all mobile devices? I don't know about you, but if there's a local emergency in my area, radio is the last place I would go for current information.

- Derek Henry
(7/14/2012 1:44:27 PM)
Jane, Jane, Jane,

Why don't you shut up and just listen to Christopher?

NO ONE CARES about the FM chip except you, your NAB flunkies, Ibiquity, and radio station owners. Consumers certainly do not. Nor do advertisers.

This is a fight you will never win.

Cheap memory chips and streaming have made FM redundant. Today's consumers want individualized music programming they cannot get on commercial FM stations.

Those who continue to fight for the FM chip are 20th century Neanderthals.


- PandoraFanBoi
(7/13/2012 11:53:56 AM)
@Andy: Not to burst YOUR bubble, but the new capability is not meant as a relacement for radio warnings - that's the beauty of it. It gives the cell carriers all the ammunition they need to fight any FM chipset mandate for safety reasons:

http://www.noaa.gov/features/03_protecting/wireless_emergency_alerts.html

For weather warnings, this will be much more effective that radio warnings, as it can target customers in any specfic area. Mostly, radio stations are automated, voice-tracked robots. LOL, right back at ya!

- GregoryO
(7/13/2012 11:31:18 AM)
To Gregory O...not to burst your bubble, but the NOAA can't come close to the wall-to-wall coverage and critical information radio will provide in a REAL catastrophic emergency. Is the NOAA going to tell everyone where to go to get potable water in every community? Radio would. Your response is very shortsighted and clearly loaded with political angst. Must have had a radio fall on your head at some point in your past. LOL right back at ya!

- Andy Orcutt
(7/13/2012 11:11:56 AM)
My HTC 3D has an FM chip, this allows me to check my radio stations signal any where. Modern cell phones are sold as the ultimate communication device, so an FM chip would be logical. It can't cost that much my $40 MP3 player has an FM chip.

- John Robson

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