Yes Virginia, there are cell phones with FM receivers


Electronics manufacturers and wireless phone companies have been resisting any government mandate to include FM receiver chips in cellular telephones. There are, however, some phones available which do have active radio receiver capability.

Global Security Systems LLC (GSS), which has been marketing its ALERTFM system for emergency notification, and the NAB will be exhibiting and promoting cell phones with FM built at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Radio-Ready Cell Phone Showcase opening Monday (4/11) will feature new avenues for radio in cell phones and other fixed and mobile electronic devices.

“The Radio Ready Cell Phone Showcase goes beyond radio programming,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president, communications. “It allows NAB and GSS to demonstrate the power radio has in providing information to the community during severe weather and other emergency situations.”

The showcase will highlight radio’s emergency notification capabilities, including ALERT FM, operates off of the Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS). It allows consumers to receive emergency information from local officials and the National Weather Service. Messages can be received on special receivers or cell phones equipped with an active FM chip and software.

“Because ALERT FM operates on existing redundant nationwide FM coverage, cell phones with active FM chips and installed software will be able to receive potentially life-saving information from local officials and the national weather service, even if cellular networks are overloaded,” said GSS Exec. VP Matthew Straeb.

RBR-TVBR observation: We would add that putting FM chips in cell phones is waaaaaaaaaay cheaper for the wireless companies than the text-messaging alert system they are hell-bent on implementing to comply with the federal mandate for them to have a system to deliver emergency information to subscribers. Not to mention that the radio-based system will always be much faster, up-to-date, comprehensive and efficient than the text-based system.