Poll shows strong support for mobile phone radio


The wireless industry keeps saying that the American public is not interested in having radio service on their mobile phones, but the American public says just the opposite, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. 76% of those surveyed said they’d pay 30 cents to activate a cell-phone radio if given the opportunity.

The poll was commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters.

“Our poll indicates that a sizeable majority of Americans are interested in the ability to listen to local stations in order to get news, weather and other information and would even pay a small one-time fee to get the service,” said Aaron Heffron, Vice President of Public Affairs Research for Harris Interactive. “Young people seem especially enthusiastic about this additional function that they would always have in their pocket.”

NAB’s Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton added, “Today’s survey results demonstrate convincingly that there is significant demand for radio-capable cell phones in the United States. Unfortunately, most U.S. mobile phone users have been denied over-the-air access to their favorite free and local stations. With much of the U.S. cell phone market built upon exclusive contracts between carriers and manufacturers, most consumers are left paying for fee-based data-intensive streaming apps with no free, broadcast alternative.”

From Harris, here are key findings of the survey:

* Three-quarters (76%) of cell phone owners would consider paying a one-time fee of 30 cents to access local radio stations through a built-in radio chip.


Source: NAB/Harris Interactive

* Local weather and music are the top reasons they would listen to their local stations on their cell phones. 73% of cell phone owners indicated that having a radio built into their cell phone capable of providing local weather and emergency alerts in real-time would be “very” or “somewhat” important.

Source: NAB/Harris Interactive

* While two-thirds (66%) of adults would use a built-in radio, 71% of 18-34 year olds and 35-44 year olds as well as 73% of single and never married adults indicated they would use a built-in radio to listen to local stations if their phone was equipped to receive local radio stations without using mobile apps or their cell phone provider’s data plan

Source: NAB/Harris Interactive

* Parents are also more likely to want to listen to local radio stations on their cell phone. 70% of parents indicated they would use this function.

* The online survey also reveals that most Americans are unaware that that they could purchase a cell phone with a built-in radio. 61% say they did not know such a feature existed.

RBR-TVBR observation: In opposing the wireless party line on mobile radio, Jeff Smulyan has been pointing overseas where mobile phone radio is widely available and popular. The results of this poll strongly suggest that Mr. Smulyan is correct.

We note that the younger generation is among the coalition of the willing – those who are willing to tune in radio on their cell phone.

We further note that this survey was executed not by an industry-friendly research firm, but by a major national non-partisan polling firm of excellent reputation.