NAB Report Scopes Broadcast Opportunities from FM-Capable Cell Phones

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NAB Report Scopes Broadcast Opportunities from FM-Capable Cell Phones

Jun 13, 2008 2:47 PM

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>Washington, DC - Jun 12, 2008 - A new NAB report outlines the potential benefits that could result from an increase in the penetration of FM radio receivers in cell phone handsets. The study concludes that cell phone service providers, radio broadcasters and handset manufacturers all stand to benefit from the expansion of FM-capable cell phones, a platform that could reach 257 million American subscribers.

"Radio is a service that already reaches 235 million American listeners every week," said NAB president and CEO David K. Rehr. "With 257 million cell phones currently in service, we're confident that implementation of a new FM-radio feature would result in rapid penetration, benefiting not only the radio business and consumers, but the cell phone, electronics manufacturing and music industries as well."

The report, commissioned by the NAB technology advocacy program NAB Fastroad (Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio On All Devices), outlines a number of potential benefits derived from FM radio capability on cell phones. They include increased cellular service subscriber satisfaction, ad-sharing opportunities, and reduced-cost on-air cellular promotions. The study also notes that cellular operators are increasingly dependent on revenue from non-voice services, including music downloads. The implementation of FM receivers on cell phones could provide a boost to music downloads, the report suggests, by facilitating tagging of songs heard on the FM receiver for later purchase. FM receivers would also give cell phone users access to EAS announcements.

The report, entitled Study of the Potential for FM Radio to be a Universal Feature on Cellular Handsets, was authored by Dr. Joseph Kraemer of the Law and Economics Consulting Group (LECG) and Richard O. Levine of Constantine Cannon.

A potential catalyst for broadcaster/cellular network provider partnerships identified in the report is the pending implementation of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) as recently defined by the FCC in a report and order adopted by the Commission in April 2008. The full text of the report and information on the NAB Fastroad technology advocacy program are available at