International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS), an advocacy group representing audio service to blind and otherwise disabled individuals, has weighed in on the radio chip/cell phone issue, registering its support for the National Association of Broadcasters in favor of a mandate.
IAAIS sees radio on cell as a valuable tool in the event of an emergency. “When the next hurricane or other disaster strikes, people would be able to easily take their radios with them. All that they would need to communicate and receive communications could be carried in one device,” said David Noble, IAAIS Government Relations Committee Chair. “Even more, no matter where a person traveled to, they would have fast access to the most up-to-date local news.”
Noble added, “Having this capability built into devices that are already being used by people with disabilities brings them one step closer to equality and independence. And, because local radio stations are free, a disabled person, who typically makes less than his or her nondisabled peers, won’t have to buy a smart phone and add an expensive monthly data plan.”
IAAIS called the mandate a logical extension of the recently-passed 21ststCentury Telecommunication and Video Accessibility Act.
NAB welcomed the support. EVP Dennis Wharton commented, “News reading services provide a critical information and lifeline resource to people who are visually-impaired, and local radio stations are the conduit for making these services possible. NAB is proud to have the support of an organization committed to making a positive difference in communities across America.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The NAB has been touting the public service benefits of radio on cell. It is totally gratifying to have a leading public service organization join in the battle. It’s the kind of endorsement that may well get very favorable notice on Capitol Hill.