Disasters highlight need for radio chip in mobile devices


Nobody on the East Coast of the US needs to be reminded about the recent earthquake and hurricane that came in for a visit. NAB is taking the occasion to remind legislators how important it is for the mobile devices carried by citizens to themselves carry a radio chip so citizens have access to vital emergency information when standard cell service is compromised.

The NAB is using ads in the Capitol Hill press to push the concept. Although it says this particular campaign is part of its ongoing effort to educate the American public on the value of radio on mobile, this particular portion of the campaign will reach legislators and their staffs – in other words, the people who have the wherewithal to make something happen, either by pressuring mobile companies to provide radio access or by mandating it via legislation.

NAB noted, “The recent earthquake and hurricane on the East Coast have highlighted the shortcomings of cellphone networks in handling huge volumes of calls simultaneously. Broadcasters have encouraged the cellphone industry to help overcome the public safety vulnerability of its network by voluntarily activating radio chips.”

The ad reads, ““When the East Coast was recently struck by a devastating hurricane, the government’s top official charged with protecting American lives during emergencies recognized radio’s importance during this crisis. Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm or simply a power outage, radio is a lifeline in times of emergency – connecting people to the information they need to stay safe. And even when cell phone and wireless networks go down, radio works. So why isn’t radio on your cell phone? If cell phones were equipped with radio receivers, millions of Americans could get instantaneous emergency information wherever they are. Let’s keep America safe: Ensure your cell phone is radio ready!”

A copy of the ad can be viewed here.

RBR-TVBR observation: The cell phone industry has been pushing the idea that it can replace broadcasters by providing text messages to mobile users. Even if you believe that texts are up to the job, given their lack of depth, the inability of cell service to stay in effective service during emergencies makes access to good old reliable broadcast a no-brainer, especially when it would not be all that expensive to provide it.