Geneva - June 17, 2014 — The EBU's "Smart Radio" initiative has been endorsed by the world's eight broadcasting unions.
"Smart Radio" is the "native" inclusion of both digital and analog radio in all phones and tablets. At a recent meeting in Prague, the 8 Unions agreed that they must work together to bring about the necessary changes, because there is a growing consensus that the future of radio depends on whether users of mobile phones, smart phones, and tablets are able to receive radio services. Reception must also continue to be both reliable and free of charge. However, convincing manufacturers of phones and tablets of the need for "Smart Radio" is a difficult task.
One advantage of "Smart Radio" is the providing of more attractive and valuable features to users. For some of the broadcasting unions, there is also a clear need to have AM and FM services available to users on all media in case of a national emergency when telephone lines and Internet connections could fail.
Technically, the inclusion of the additional features into smartphones and tablets presents no major problems. In some countries there are already mobile phones with "hidden" FM decoders onboard but not enabled by the network operator. Some operators believe that including radio reception could divert users from their revenue earning services. An agreement has been reached among the 8 Unions that the advantages for all partners in the new value chain of smart phones and tablets need to be analyzed and explained; network operators must be convinced that they have more to gain than lose by enabling radio reception.