FM Chips In Smartphones Get Another Big Endorsement


TORONTO — The push to activate FM chips in smartphones, which Emmis Communications and its NextRadio arm have taken the lead on in the U.S., has gotten a continental boost thanks to the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA).

NABA last week submitted an opinion on the activation of radio receivers in smartphones that was adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in March 2017.

Enabling the FM chip present in most smartphones would allow users convenient access to FM radio in times of emergency and natural disasters.

“ITU’s support is a result of focused, coordinated and steadfast effort by NABA’s Radio Committee and the FM Chip Working Group comprised of members across Canada, Mexico and the United States,” said Michael McEwen, NABA’s Director-General. “As broadcast industry leaders, we thank the ITU for the global support of FM enabled smartphones.”

The Official Opinion from the ITU states that Report ITU-R BT.2299 provides a compilation of supporting evidence that terrestrial broadcasting plays a critically important role in disseminating information to the public in times of emergencies.

In addition, the NABA opinion states that “citizens of the world would benefit if manufacturers of mobile telephones, tablets, and similar devices as well as associated service providers would include and activate a broadcast radio tuner functionality in their products along with the appropriate applications to facilitate radio broadcasting reception.”

The opinion was initially submitted to the Radiocommunication sector of the ITU in Geneva in October 2016, and was discussed, edited, and approved at the March 2017 meetings of the ITU’s Study Group 6 (specializing in Broadcasting Service).

NABA’s submission was supported by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), and the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU), as well as a number of administrations.