NAB brings pro-radio-on-cell poll to attention of Congress


A letter went to the leadership of four key congressional committees aiming to “correct and clarify the record” on the demand for broadcast radio capability on cell phones. NAB leadership explained that the demand is there, it has stats to prove it, and that it has been artificially blocked by wireless and consumer electronics interests.

The letter went to chairs and ranking members of the two judiciary and two commerce committees, and was signed by NAB Joint Board Chair Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Kentucky-based Commonwealth Broadcasting; and NAB Radio Board Chair Caroline Beasley, executive vice president and CFO of Florida-based Beasley Broadcast Group.

A recent showed that the inclusion of a broadcast radio chip in cell phones would be a desirable attribute to a significant majority of US citizens. The RBR-TVBR story about the poll is available here:

“Despite such global demand, much of the U.S. cell phone market remains founded upon exclusive contracts between consumer electronics manufacturers and mobile phone carriers, and consumers are being denied access to radio’s free services on many mobile phone devices for competitive reasons,” wrote Newberry/Beasley. “Cell phone providers apparently would rather reap the revenue of data-intensive, fee-based streaming apps than offer consumers a free and local alternative.”

The continued, “In the end, this is an issue of consumer access. “Americans deserve better choices than what is being offered by gatekeeper mobile service providers. The demonstrated demand for radio-capable cell phones, coupled with local radio’s role as a lifeline service during times of crisis, are considerations we hope you will take into account as this debate continues.”

Those receiving the letter were Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) of Senate Judiciary; Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) of Senate Commerce; John Conyers (D-MI) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) of House Judiciary; and Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) of House Commerce.

RBR-TVBR observation: We are glad to see the NAB continuing to press this issue even as other portions of the PRA negotiation controversy seem to have entered a lull.