FM Chips In Smartphones — In South Korea


Attention, Apple: Here’s another deployment of the NextRadio app that involves the use of an activated FM radio chip in the smartphone.

Emmis Communications subsidiary TagStation LLC on Tuesday revealed that its NextRadio app is now available in the nation of South Korea. And, it’s not a streaming audio version that’s being touted. Rather, this app — like that available to Android-powered smartphones in the U.S. — allows listeners to tune in live-and-local FM radio stations over their phones.

While some dispute the claim, TagStation says the use of the FM radio chip through NextRadio allows listeners to use three times less battery than a streaming app. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that the use of FM requires 20 times less data than streaming radio apps.

Both attributes of NextRadio apps have been lauded by everyone from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to political leaders in regions recently devastated by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“We recognize how ingrained smartphone usage is in South Korea, with even higher adoption rates than in the U.S.,” said TagStation President Paul Brenner. “We look forward to introducing to Korea’s mobile-first consumers the benefits of FM radio chip-enabled smartphones and the NextRadio brand. Developing a solid footprint in South Korea will help to strengthen our relationship with leading smartphone device makers, like LG, and forge new relationships as we collaborate with more smartphone makers to unlock the FM radio chip in their devices.”

TagStation has previously focused expansion of the NextRadio app in North America and Latin America, making South Korea its first active country outside of the Americas.

South Korea has some of the highest smartphone penetration globally, with over 71% of the population using a smartphone at least once a month.

Of course, there’s another key motivator behind TagStation’s choice to expand to South Korea: It’s the home of some of the world’s leading global handset makers, including Samsung.

“The new proximity to some of the most popular smartphone makers in the world will be a strategic advantage and creates a great opportunity for NextRadio to grow the FM-enabled smartphone user base internationally,” TagStation said.