Gary Shapiro endorses NextRadio app


On 5/7 during his opening keynote address at the Digital Media Summit in Toronto, CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro gave an endorsement to the NextRadio app as an innovative technological product. Shapiro also tweeted a picture of Emmis Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Smulyan providing him a demonstration of the NextRadio app with Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media/jacAPPS.


RBR-TVBR observation: Kudos and praises to Jeff Smulyan, who has championed NextRadio from the start. Getting the Consumer Electronics Association’s endorsement of this app is a major leg up for radio—and for the public in general. As NAB CEO Gordon Smith recently told RBR-TVBR in an interview:

Why is it important that all cell phones get an activated FM chip? Where do you think the progress is right now? Is it enough? And how are you helping get that done for people’s safety and everything else?

Our whole radio industry, and specifically Jeff Smulyan and Emmis, deserve a lot of credit for leading the charge behind the NextRadio app and for getting Sprint to turn on their radio tuners. It’s demonstrably important to the matter of public policy that cell phones have radio-enabled chips, for the simple reason that in a storm or an emergency the first things that fail are your cell phone networks. They either literally crash or they become congested to the point of their being unusable. The radio receiver, however, keeps on going and doesn’t use data caps, and delivers what, in an emergency, can be life-saving information. That is why it is a matter of policy and good business that they auto-enable these chips in cellphones. We’re not looking for a government mandate, but we see this as the future, and also an opportunity for cell networks who want to do more video to offload some traffic in audio. I think another really significant thing that Emmis Radio recently announced is they are working with car manufacturers to bring their app into automobile dashboards. That could certainly help radio maintain its dominant position on the dashboard.

It’s funny how we have to keep radio in the dash by doing the end-run through an app, but we’ll take it, right?

Whatever it takes! The radio is a very secure place in terms of automobiles, because the customers demand it. And if the customers had the knowledge about their cell phones that they do of the dashboard, they would be demanding it there as well. It’s an education process and we’re trying to incentivize the telephone carriers to see why it’s important to their customers that radio be a feature, not just an app that is streamed. Because that goes against their data caps, and data caps are an emerging consumer protection issue. We think we have a solution to help with the problem.

Cell phone carriers don’t have to say or imply that their phones are liable not to work. It’s just, “Hey, this has an FM radio on it too!” That’s all they have to say.

Exactly. It could be a real life line. We ought to be doing what the rest of the world is doing and lighting up our cell phones with radio. We’re a laggard nation in that regard. I understand it’s a revenue stream to the cell phone companies, but there’s a lot of moms and dads around the kitchen table wondering how to pay ever-increasing cell phone bills coupled with cable or satellite bills. It’s starting to break the family budget, and broadcasting offers that wonderful free and local offload which is of great value in the past, in the present, and in the future of the American people.