The radio industry might be smart to re-activate a lobbying effort to get the government to mandate FM Chips in all cell-phones using the natural disaster angle.. This year has been especially strong when it comes to Hurricanes (See Puerto Rico. See Southwest Florida. See Houston) and talk about activating the FM Chip, which is already in all cell-phones, has never been higher. There’s even a Senator now pushing for its activation.
The NAB and the radio industry backed off on trying to get the government to mandate carriers flip on the chip, however, it may be time to revive the government mandate approach. Or at least, jump on one Senator’s coat-tails. NBC-2 in Fort Myers is reporting that U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is pushing for the government to require manufacturers to activate the FM chip inside their products. Fort Myers was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, and even today there are thousands of residents without power. Everyone knows without power, radio is the only lifeline to information.
The TV station then went out an interviewed local residents, who had no idea the chip even existed. Many Southwest residents were surprised their phones even had that feature. So clearly any information campaign the industry is hoping will lead to activating the chips isn’t resonating. How about a long industry-wide roadblock on this topic?
Consumers, your listeners, seem ready to support you. Leslie Brown of Fort Myers told the TV station, “I know a lot of people were running around trying to find battery-powered radios and everything at the last minute.” Resident Jessie Kasem told the TV station, “Cell phones are an emergency device. They’re a utility at this point, and if there is a way it can be used during an emergency for free information, then they should make that available. To be able to have an FM radio in our hands would have been helpful.”
Jeremy Azinger runs the “U Break I Fix” smartphone store in downtown Fort Myers. “There’s got to be a way we can activate that chip. I can easily imagine there being a setting on your phone that you turn on and off at your leisure to have access ability to your radio.”
Read the entire NBC-2 story HERE