But we all have our own agendas and in this one case I am not such a small government guy. I would love to see the government mandate the addition and activation of radio chips in cell phones. I am happy to admit to being self-serving here. I guess it would be redundant to say I am self-serving and I don’t care.
We know House members have met with smartphone manufacturers in the last two weeks and while the government may not force this issue, just scheduling the meeting may very well push the phone folks in the right direction.
Adding a radio chip would save lives, be a real convenience and would be fair. One of the best parts of having a radio chip in your cell phone is you get the local weather, news, sports and music without having to worry about eating up your data plan.
I lost my smart phone about 6 weeks ago while on a road trip. I ran across the street to a Best Buy and picked up a “load as you go” Nokia phone and was pleasantly surprised to learn that this $25.00 phone came with radio included. I found my $400 smart phone a few days later at Delta’s lost and found at Hartsfield. Yeah I have a million radio station apps and all of the push apps on the smartphone. But when I am on the treadmill and I want to listen to the Mountaineers game, I can do it on the cheapo phone. The Mountaineers cannot be streamed by their local affiliates.
And I am not using up my data plan.
When enjoying a beautiful West Virginia afternoon, hiking the magnificent mountains, and I want to check the local weather forecast, I can also do it on this cheapo phone. (Okay, I have never actually hiked the beautiful West Virginia Mountains, but I would feel much more comfortable doing do so if I had a radio on my cell phone.)
What about the safety issues? I have never heard an Amber Alert on Pandora. Spotify has yet to warn me of a tornado in the area. What happens if the school bus is going to be 2 hours late? Darn! I missed that announcement on Last-FM.
I mentioned fair above. Usually people cry “unfair” when they have no case to make, but players like Pandora and Spotify have lobbied the auto manufacturers to include them on the dashboard while CD makers were blindsided and lost their space in new Fords.
Radio has the right to lobby smartphone makers to get on the handheld units. But you have Consumer Electronics President Gary Shapiro saying that mandating radios in cell phones is, “not in our national interest.” WHAT!? Allowing al Qaeda to set up a recruitment booth in Times Square is not in our national interest. Releasing killer bees on the Mall in Washington, DC during the 4th of July celebration is not in our national interest. But not being able to tune in Brad Paisley on my cell phone while I grill hot dogs on my deck, really? Heck, the NAB and RIAA can not agree on what day it is most of the time and they BOTH think putting radios in cell phones is a good idea. They know this is good for both of their businesses. At the recent NAB meeting in Las Vegas, the talk was about HD Radio on phones. Think of the additional 40 or 50 options in a city like LA. Mr. Shapiro must be looking for new ways to warn the nation.
We are a society of choices. We watch television shows on our phones and tablets. We listen to push and pull audio on our smart phones.
Does it make me a self-serving SOB to want to hear “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton while I read his tweets on the same device?
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About the AuthorCook is currently on the board of both the ACM and the CMA and serves as Director of Programming and Brand Management for West Virginia Radio Corp, based in Morgantown, WV. He is also President of McVay/Cook and Associates, a Cleveland-based media consulting company. He has served on the CRB Board for over 20 years.
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