Lawmakers push for FM on mobile


Citing provisions of the WARN Act of 2006, which seeks to harness the power of mobile phones to disseminate emergency information, a bipartisan group of representatives, 60 strong, are pushing for FM capability on mobile handsets. They point out that local broadcast radio’s EAS system is proven and reliable.

WARN stands for Warning Alert and Responses Network, and the WARN Act instructs the telecom industry to develop its own emergency response mechanism. The legislators note that the easiest way to accomplish this is to simply harness the already-existent emergency alert capabilities of FM radio.

The letter went to Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

“There are well over 700M cell phones with FM radios globally,” they wrote. “Currently, only a handful of FM radio enabled cell phones are in the US market. There is no excuse for American consumers’ access to advanced technology to lag behind that available worldwide.

“Everyone involved,” they concluded, “including the American public and public safety officials, as well as the mobile phone and broadcasting industries, stands to benefit.”

Here is the list of Reps who signed on to the letter: Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Greg Walden (R-OR), Joseph Cao (R-LA), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Howard Coble (R-NC), Henry Brown (R-SC), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Mark Souder (R-IN), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Dan Burton (R-IN), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), John Mica (R-FL), Steve Austria (R-OH), Heath Shuler (D-NC), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Mike Turner (R-OH), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Tom Price (R-GA), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Michael D. Rogers (R-AL), Phil Hare (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Todd Platts (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Parker Griffith (D-AL), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Artur Davis (D-AL), Geoff Davis (R-KY), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Mike Arcuri (D-NY), Bobby Bright (D-AL), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Tom Perriello (D-VA), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Candice Miller (R-MI), Baron Hill (D-IN), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Paul Broun (R-GA), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), John Culberson (R-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Sam Graves (R-MO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).

RBR-TVBR observation: It makes perfect sense – there is no point in asking wireless telecom companies to go to the enormous trouble of developing a system from scratch when an entirely effective system is just sitting there waiting to be utilized.

The fact that well-programmed FM radio stations will have another way to reach consumers will be a beneficial side effect for both the consumers and the stations.