As SiriusBuzz reported earlier in the week, the RIAA and terrestrial radio are in the midst of working a deal, and part of that deal involves getting FM radio chips mandated in cellular phones. While the idea may seem harmless to many, the wireless industry is not very thrilled about involuntarily being dragged into a long running debate between radio and record labels.
The Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) came out firing and slamming the concept. The NAB has been trying to get FM onto cell phones for quite some time, and even argues that terrestrial radio could save the wireless industry billions by enabling them to comply with the FCC Warning, Alert Response Network (WARN). Even with these arguments, the wireless industry simpley does not want to be mandated to include FM. They have an active lobby effort to ensure that any new legislation does not include such language.
“What should happen is the performance rights advocates and the broadcasters ought to go off and settle their problems in a way that doesn’t involve us. We’re not looking to be a part of that debate or discussion or legislation. We would not support an effort to draw us into those discussions. I don’t see how adoption of an FM chip mandate helps to resolve those issues. I think NAB would like to use this as a vehicle to get that done. It’s been a long-standing public policy goal of theirs. But if they push it we’ll work to frustrate it. We think it’s a bad idea and it shouldn’t happen.” – CTIA VP of Government Affairs Jot Carpenter
This isn’t the first time the NAB and terrestrial radio have tried to gain inclusion by force. During the merger process of Sirius and XM, the NAB argued that terrestrial radio chipsets should be included on all satellite radios. The strategy did not work then, and it is not likely to work now. Mobile manufacturers look to deliver what consumers want at a decent price. They are not looking to be saddled with the added expense of FM chipsets. Certainly some models will include such a feature, but the mandate is something the wireless industry seems to have no interest in.
It looks like the royalty waters for terrestrial radio have just been muddied again.
Radio Business Report