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Smith Urges Broadcasters to Get Behind the Chip


NAB CEO Gordon Smith told Radio Show attendees Wednesday that investing in innovation is crucial to the long-term growth of the industry -- and one of those innovations is the FM chip for cell phones. Just watching people walk the hallways or sit in sessions, it's clear the cell phone has become an extension of the human body. Most agree that if radio had a perrmanent position on the face of every cell phone, that would be very beneficial to the industry as a whole.

Of course, Smith mentioned the importance of local radio being on and available to communities in times of tragedy and disaster, which unfortunately, we hear about every year in this country. An FM chip delivers radio without the need of a stream, so your local station will always be there, over the air, when listeners need it most. Smith said the FM chip technology, now also being referred to as "hybrid FM radio," benefits consumers and provides many opportunities for broadcasters and manufacturers. NAB Labs has been instrumental in helping produce the product that Sprint would eventually buy into and put in its phones.

Smith also gave credit to Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, who, he said, pioneered the FM chip effort; he added, "and, like many unsung pioneer heroes, he has taken his share of arrows in the back to bring this initiative to the forefront of the radio business." Smulyan, according to Smith, had additional help on the FM chip initiative from Hubbard Radio's Bruce Reese and Ginny Morris and Cromwell CEO Bud Walters. Smith believes that getting the chips in all phones is yet another way to increase the influence of the radio industry.

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