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Support for FM on cell phones grows.


Four out of five (81%) Americans who own a cell phone would consider paying a small, one-time 30 cent fee to access local radio on a mobile phone.  That’s according to a new Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters.  The cost is how much it’s estimated to include the microchip on a mobile phone.  Three-quarters (76%) of adults say they’d use the feature, up from 66% in 2010.

Local weather and music are the top two reasons survey participants would listen to their local stations on their cell phones.  Seven out of 10 cell phone owners indicated that having a radio built into their cell phone, capable of providing local weather and emergency alerts in real-time, would be "very" or "somewhat" important. The number was higher – nearly eight out of 10 adults – for those with children in the home.

"The results of this survey demonstrate again a significant and growing demand for radio-capable cell phones in the U.S.," NAB EVP Dennis Wharton says.  "We're hopeful that as demand for this capability becomes more apparent, wireless carriers will voluntarily offer this feature or activate radio chips already in their devices. Radio-enabled cellphones are a standard feature in much of Europe and Asia. From a public safety perspective alone, there is a strong case to be made for wireless carriers to also voluntarily activate radio chips in cellphones in the U.S."

The NAB hopes the survey will encourage wireless companies to add FM capabilities to all handsets.  But the CTIA-The Wireless Association says consumers who want FM-enabled devices can buy them.  “The market already delivers a variety of FM-enabled handsets,” VP Jot Carpenter says.   He says there’s “considerable marketplace evidence” that consumers prefer using mobile apps over FM.

The survey was conducted online between April 18 and May 1, 2012 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults (age 18+).


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