On the FM radio smartphone chip, Smulyan noted that most smartphone models have them built in, they just aren’t activated. And they should be – particularly in the current spectrum-starved environment. He noted that many citizens may not realize that whereas they have to pay to stream internet radio, they could be using the same mobile device to bring in free audio content from local radio stations, and said that making FM on mobile widely available is a major goal.
Smulyan sees the smartphone project as a replacement for the walkman and transistor radios of earlier eras. There is no such portable radio receiver in wide use at the moment, but Smulyan believes if radio on cell becomes widely available is will change the perception of radio as a whole and help revitalize the industry.
RBR-TVBR observation: Anybody who has been in an urban area during a crisis knows that cell phones instantly become useless. Everybody with a cell phone has an immediate and compelling need to make a phone call – and as a result, nobody can.
Furthermore, few people out on the streets have access to any information as to the nature of the emergency and what they need to do to gain safety.
The ability to reach millions of people with one transmission stream would be a huge improvement over the current reality, where the only people able to receive critical information are those who are in their personal vehicle.
Turning cell phones into vital public safety devices is reason enough to activate the FM chips – every other benefit is the icing on the cake.