Radio news is so important to each market’s individual listeners that members of the National Association of Broadcasters are lobbying commerce and judiciary committees in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to make free radio available through cellular phones. The hope is that the government will allow the installation of chips to access FM radio broadcasts in cellular phones and other mobile devices.
The need for free radio broadcasting over mobile devices is more apparent in areas hit by natural disasters or suffering crisis situations. Residents living in these areas when disaster have struck relied heavily on radio news for vital and lifesaving information. In many instances, the free news services offered in radio broadcasts are the only stream of important information available when television and computers have been knocked off the electricity grids. Hurricanes Katrina and Ike are examples of those types of situations when radio news would be vital to saving many people’s lives.
It is scenarios such as these that make the need for providing free radio news services via cellular phones urgent and necessary.
The NAB has come up against some opposition in their quest to offer these services, though. Providers of cellular phone services prefer to shut out free radio in many cases, offering alternative services through apps which generate profits for the provider companies. They also earn a few bucks for the companies that contract with the cellular service providers.
Depriving these companies of profits is not the intention of the NAB. Radio broadcasters simply want to offer cellular phone customers what they already have – free radio news broadcasts. They just want to offer the services in an additional way, allowing more residents to receive important local news updates and information in real time with rapid streaming through their mobile devices.
The addition of these FM radio chips could save lives in emergency and crisis situations. Having a device that continues to operate, can travel with a person and keeps him or her up to date with important information could make the difference between life and death in some circumstances.