Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, June 23, 2008

Radio Programs Will Invade Mobile Phones

Your local Auto Dealership radio adverts could be making their way to your mobile phone, mixed with a little music. A report from the National Association of Broadcasters outlines this result, from an anticipated increase in the penetration of FM radio receivers in American cell phones.

Their market study concludes that cell phone service providers, radio broadcasters, and handset manufacturers all stand to benefit from the expansion of FM-capable cell phones, a platform that could reach 257 million American subscribers.

"Radio is a service that already reaches 235 million American listeners every week,"said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr. "With 257 million cell phones currently in service, we're confident that implementation of a new FM-radio feature would result in rapid penetration, benefiting not only the radio business and American consumers, but the cell phone, electronics manufacturing, and music industries as well."

The report, commissioned by the NAB technology advocacy program NAB FASTROAD (Flexible Advanced Services for Television & Radio On All Devices), outlines a number of potential benefits derived from FM radio capability on cell phones.

They include increased cellular service subscriber satisfaction, ad-sharing opportunities, and reduced-cost on-air cellular promotions. The study also notes that cellular operators are increasingly dependent on revenue from non-voice services, including music downloads.

The implementation of FM receivers on cell phones could provide a boost to music downloads, the report suggests, by facilitating the tagging of songs heard on the FM receiver for later purchase. FM receivers would also give cell phone users access to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) announcements that are relied upon as a lifeline for Americans during emergencies.

A potential catalyst for broadcaster and cellular network provider partnerships identified in the report is the pending implementation of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) as recently defined by the FCC in a Report and Order adopted by the Commission in April of this year.