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NAB, RIAA May Seek Mandate For FM Radios In Mobile Devices 489

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-said-reason-was-dead dept.
Trintech writes with this quote from an article at Ars Technica: "Music labels and radio broadcasters can't agree on much, including whether radio should be forced to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for the music it plays. But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics. The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. 'The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,' thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is 'not in our national interest.' 'Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.' But the music and radio industries say it's a consumer-focused proposition, one that would provide 'more music choices.'"
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NAB, RIAA May Seek Mandate For FM Radios In Mobile Devices

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  • If it was consumer focused, this feature would be advertised as a selling point on cell phones. Turns out it's not for several reasons. One is that, in my opinion, commercial radio sucks. I rarely listen to the radio and when I do it's some form of public radio. There's probably a number of size and power constraints as well that result in every single leading cell phone lacking this 'feature.'

    The two sides hope to strike a grand bargain: radio would agree to pay around $100 million a year (less than it feared), but in return it would get access to a larger market through the mandated FM radio chips in portable devices.

    Wait, wait, wait. What part of that deal was consumer focused?

    I think instead of 'consumer focused' you mean 'consumer manipulation' but to be fair they didn't define whether the focus was positive or negative.

    Take your market mandated regulations, take your backroom deals, take your advertisement laden radio, take your same damn song repetition and firmly shove them up your ass. Most importantly: leave me and device companies alone. You've already done far too much damage.

    And yes, I put my money where my mouth is and only buy music from labels unaffiliated with the RIAA and bands with no labels at all. I love sites that promote this like bandcamp and even Amazon MP3 occasionally. If you agree with me, do the same. Powerful lobbying has proven that it's the only way to stop this from our end.

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:18AM (#33274252)

      You raise an interesting point. How is this any different from a monopoly abusing it's position. If the government went through with this how could they possibly fine any monopoly in the future for abuse when they've done it themselves.

      Surely this is illegal to begin with.

      • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:54AM (#33274570) Homepage

        The RIAA is just pissed of because it's finally realizing how useless they are at this point.

        You no longer need a multi-million dollar studio to produce professional-sounding audio, nor do you need widespread advertising in "traditional" ways to get popular. $10,000 will buy you all the instruments, equipment, and distribution you need. Depending on your music, it likely will require even less than that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And then, all you need is another $500,000 on promotion to differentiate yourself from the flood of other crappy garage band recordings. Creating music is and always was easy. Distributing music used to be difficult, but now it's easy. Advertising, making a name for yourself, and actually seeing any returns (financial or otherwise) from your distribution is still very difficult.

          • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:45AM (#33275090) Homepage

            That all depends on what you want to do with your music. The guy that lives on the first floor of our apartment complex is fairly popular locally, but at the moment he is just using the money he earns to save up for retirement. As for myself, I release all my music for free [www.last.fm] because it caters to a very small niche where there isn't too much available. I got started because I wanted to hear specific types of music, and was having a hard time actually finding it. Of course, now that I do it, I've come in contact with all kinds of people who make the same stuff...but I digress.

            If you're good enough, your music alone will make you more popular. The Very Small, a band made up of people I went to middle and high school with, played at the 9:30 Club [930.com] a couple of months ago (a place where people as big as Marylin Manson, John Mayer, Thievery Corporation, and Black Eyed Peas have played) They have also done a multi-coast tour, and are planning another one. Their advertising is done almost entirely through word-of-mouth and social networking sites.

            It's hard, but if your music is actually good, it will eventually happen on its own.

            • by Dishevel (1105119) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:10AM (#33275370)
              Impossible! People have no power over their own lives. They need organizations and government protections to thrive. Only through rules, regulations, laws, taxes, unions, corporations and big government can people be expected to be well.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tibman (623933)

            At first i was agreeing with you.. but then i started thinking about groups who make money by promoting good bands. There are magazines dedicated to just this thing. People pay money to read a magazine about what bands rock, what bands suck, and where to get their music. There are probably blogs who make advert money doing the same thing. Why would a band pay a magazine for their content? The band isn't putting an ad in the magazine, they are the content itself. The magazine should be paying the bands

            • by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:25AM (#33275530)
              The vast majority of people do want to pay $5/month to be told what music they should claim to like. They're not looking for good music, they're looking for what opinions they should have in order to fit in with their peers.
            • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:30AM (#33275598) Journal
              Hate to break it to you, my friend, but the article *IS* the ad. It's the same with David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, and the others. The bulk of their guests are selling something: their latest movie, the book they wrote, the CD they just released. Sure, you will get the occasional guest that's there purely for popular interest. That's just for camouflage. They are there to make you believe that the show is not an infomercial.

              It's the same way with promotional magazines. Sure, you may get an article or two covering some interesting trend, but the articles that focus on the band are advertising the band.
          • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:15AM (#33275416)

            And then, all you need is another $500,000 on promotion to differentiate yourself from the flood of other crappy garage band recordings.
            Why would you need to do that?

            Creating music is and always was easy.
            Good.
            Distributing music used to be difficult, but now it's easy.
            Good, if it were otherwise we would have somehow slipped in technological advancement.

            Advertising, making a name for yourself, and actually seeing any returns (financial or otherwise) from your distribution is still very difficult.

            But presumably, it isn't difficult making a name for yourself enough to create a small, but sustainable presence if what you seek to do is make a living through live performance? Certainly it wouldn't be a rock-star lifestyle, but why exactly, do I care if that lifestyle is supported?

            Tell me, if it weren't for that $500,000 advance, would rock-stars cease to exist? Of course not. Some local bands would somehow figure out a way to expand their appeal to a more general audience, and eventually build up world wide support. In the absense of any 'angel benefactor' tossing a pile of money in your lap, it might take a bit longer, but it wouldn't be impossible.

            And isn't that similar to the situation today? Not everyone gets to be a rock star now, and not everyone would get to be a rockstar if every major label dried up overnight. Some, however, would find it possible to reach that level on their own, especially if a void existed in the market.

            But it really comes down to this:

            Why is it so important that someone have the ability to reach rock-star level status? Especially when the emerging system seems to support a lot more local/small (and innovative) musicians rather than the old system in which these small-scale bands actually DID have a hard time even getting to the point where they could make ends meet.

            That pop-stars are rare isn't really a problem. It wasn't a problem from 1300AD - 19th century. And I doubt it was anything essential from the 19th century until now.

            • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:37AM (#33275662) Homepage Journal

              I gots no mod points - someone mod this guy to the moon, please.

              We don't NEED no steenking rock stars. A couple dozen stars making gazillions of dollars, while the rest eat leftover beans just sucks. People who love making music should be able to make a living. The ones who are really good at it should make a great living. But, freaks running around buying up multi-million dollar condos, million dollar cars, and multi-million dollar jets and yachts is just ridiculous. None of them are WORTH IT!!

              And, if any of them really were worth it, he/she/they would have made it without a major label backing them anyway.

              Just do away with the labels, FFS

              • by Stewie241 (1035724) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:49AM (#33275790)

                We don't NEED no steenking rock stars.

                But then who would do benefit concerts for the environment, G8, aids, etc etc?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by DavidTC (10147)

                Indeed, I get baffled by the complaint that without the RIAA, no artist would be massively popular.

                That would be a good thing. (Have you tried buying damn tickets to a concert lately?)

                We'd be much better off for all sorts of reasons if there were hundred times as many 'popular' groups, each with a hundredth the fanbase, and no one using the RIAA at all to promote their stuff. The only people worse off would be the RIAA and (possibly) the tiny percentage of bands that the RIAA chooses to make popular.

                Peop

        • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:59AM (#33275234) Journal

          AM radio is also dying.

          Mandatory AM Radio is next step.

          Newspapers are dying, and so are faxes.

          So the newspaper produces and fax manufactureres will mandate that your cell phone also receives FAXES - so you can receive a fax copy of your local NEWSPAPER without having to have an iPad and 500 megabytes to download one issue of Wired.

          GM is (still) dying.

          So GM will lobby that your cell phone also includes a CAR!

          And throw in the PoS otherwise known as ObamaCare! (after all, it's really a gift to the insurance industry).

          Real estate is (still) dying.

          So every cell phone should have A NEW HOME!

          LANDINES ARE DYING!

          EVERY CELL PHONE MUST BE CONNECTED TO A LAND LINE!!!

          And obviously run BSD, because "everyone knows" BSD is dying.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You raise an interesting point. How is this any different from a monopoly abusing it's position.

        When a large company with a monopoly makes a decision, do you get to vote for a representative that is making that decision? Does everyone? The difference here is that the government is elected by the people, for the people and is thus theoretically acting for the common good. Companies are acting to maximize profit with no regard for the common good.

        Please to not infer from my previous comments that I'm in favor of the proposed mandate. But at least I can vote and try to get others to vote the corrupt scum

        • Vote Pirate (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:26AM (#33275542) Homepage Journal

          But at least I can vote and try to get others to vote the corrupt scumbags out of office

          In the United States, neither the Republican platform nor the Democratic platform includes rolling back the entertainment industry land-grabs of the 105th Congress. All three bills I'm thinking of (NET Act, Bono Act, DMCA) passed both houses by a voice vote. I'll believe you once a Pirate [pirate-party.us] gets elected to Congress.

          I actually think there is room for a real grassroots movement (not promoted by an advertising agency on behalf of people with vested interests).

          They tried that in 2008 with Ron Paul. But at the primary debates, Paul couldn't a word in edgewise because the MPAA controls the TV news media [pineight.com].

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:19AM (#33274260)

      Perhaps I'm a dissenting voice here, but I actually do listen to broadcast radio, and I would love it if my android-based smart phone had an FM tuner in it. There are times when I don't have the music I want to listen to on the device, and I would tune in to either CBC 2 (classical music channel) or the local indy/alternative station.

      I don't think mandating it is a good idea. But I do think that if more manufacturers put them in smart phones the devices would find a market.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My android-based smart phone has an FM tuner (HTC Incredible) but why on earth would I use it when I can use pandora?

        • by Abstrackt (609015) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:39AM (#33274406)

          My android-based smart phone has an FM tuner (HTC Incredible) but why on earth would I use it when I can use pandora?

          From the US-based perspective I can see your point, but in Realityimpaired's case, being Canadian means he doesn't have the option to listen to Pandora without a VPN.

          Being Canadian myself, I worry our government will decide to play along if yours passes this. I agree that it would be nice to have the option but I'm of the mind that my phone should just be a phone.

          • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:57AM (#33274600)

            It wouldn't matter if our government decided to play along... if the US markets mandated it, then we wouldn't have a choice up here, since all of our cellular hardware is stuff that also gets sold in the states.

            Or do you honestly think that a hardware company like HTC is going to have two production lines: one with an FM tuner, one without, for a 3.5G HSDPA+ GSM phone running at 850/1700 for data? (that would be AT&T in the US, and Bell/Telus and Rogers in Canada)

            And she. There are some women who read slashdot....

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by GooberToo (74388)

          My android-based smart phone has an FM tuner (HTC Incredible) but why on earth would I use it when I can use pandora?

          Simple. Very simple. Power. Coverage. Period.

          I would personally love to see both AM and FM included in more smart phones. I do not want to see it mandated. That's dumb. This is clearly one of those places where the market is very capable of regulating itself.

          AM/FM radio reception has clear advantages of services like Pandora in that AM/FM radio is everywhere. On the other hand, data services are not yet everywhere. And ignoring issues of data coverage, the power required to process an audio stream versus si

      • by flajann (658201)

        Perhaps I'm a dissenting voice here, but I actually do listen to broadcast radio, and I would love it if my android-based smart phone had an FM tuner in it. There are times when I don't have the music I want to listen to on the device, and I would tune in to either CBC 2 (classical music channel) or the local indy/alternative station.

        I don't think mandating it is a good idea. But I do think that if more manufacturers put them in smart phones the devices would find a market.

        I'm sure you can find a classical streaming source to get the classical music that you love. Or just buy a separate FM receiver. They don't cost much these days.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by krem81 (578167)
        You can buy the RadioTime app for something like $4 that will give you most of your local radio stations and almost any streaming station from around the world.
      • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:59AM (#33274628)

        I personally would rather have the extra battery life instead of an FM receiver. I barely use the radio in my car as it is, and never the one in my house. If they want people to listen to radio again, as probably the underlying purpose of this misguided effort is, I would propose an immediate ban on ownership of more than 8 radio stations by any single entity and no more than 2 stations in any market. (ie, no more clear channel or infinity) Let's go back to individuals deciding what gets played on the radio and perhaps we'll get some truly interesting music back on the airwaves instead of the same "top 40" as decided by some tone deaf marketeer across the entire country.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kheldan (1460303)
          Hear, hear! I'm over 40, was "raised on radio", and I still remember radio being pretty awesome. These days, when I'm driving (ride a motorcycle most of the time) there aren't enough presets on it to properly accomodate the "dance of the stations" I do constantly between about 10 different stations in my market, trying to find something to listen to that doesn't suck. Oddly enough one of those 10 stations is a low-power student-operated station run out of a local high school that plays a surprisingly fresh
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by knight24k (1115643)

        Perhaps I'm a dissenting voice here, but I actually do listen to broadcast radio, and I would love it if my android-based smart phone had an FM tuner in it. There are times when I don't have the music I want to listen to on the device, and I would tune in to either CBC 2 (classical music channel) or the local indy/alternative station.

        My android has FM radio and I have used it exactly once. It was mostly out of curiosity and to check out how it worked. It is ok if I actually cared about anything broadcast

      • by lowrydr310 (830514) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:42PM (#33279920)
        I have a FM tuner in my android-based smartphone. I don't use it because I rarely listen to FM radio anymore. I can't find enough stations with programming that I enjoy, and there are too many annoying commercials. Why bother with that when I can use Pandora, or buy the songs that I like in MP3 format?

        Another big problem, for me at least, is that the NYC radio market is absolute garbage if you don't listen to mainstream top-40 crap, hip-hop, or Spanish (Latin American) music. Fortunately there are two awesome alternatives that I do listen to regularly when I'm in my car. The best station (and only station that plays modern rock/metal) is a college station [wsou.net] that's commercial free, and the next best thing also happens to be a college radio station [columbia.edu] (I didn't know this; just found out now when searching the link!).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      My last two (Nokia) phones both had FM receivers built in. It's a pretty standard feature, although not one that I've ever used. I'm not sure if manufacturers even bother advertising it anymore - a stand-alone portable FM receiver costs so little that it's not really a selling point.
    • by lazybeam (162300) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:35AM (#33274372) Homepage

      One is that, in my opinion, commercial radio sucks.

      That's why I only listen to a non-commercial radio station :) [triplej.net.au] however its signal is not very strong on my mobile phone FM radio: entering a train kills it - though it does work on my car radio when I drive to work. I do like the idea of FM radio - it uses less battery power then playing an MP3 - but it doesn't tend to work very well in practice.

      If FM is going to be required, maybe all phones should also be able to send/receive faxes? It is an equivalently-obsoleted technology. My phone plan in 2001 actually had a separate "fax number" but when someone called it all I could do was "reject" since my phone couldn't handle it. It didn't take me long to get it permanently blocked.

      Wouldn't something like DAB+ reception be better than FM anyway? I've had FM reception in several of my phones, including my current one: they have all been (2G GSM) Nokias.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      If it was consumer focused, this feature would be advertised as a selling point on cell phones

      Well, some people think it's a good idea, but notice that unless they wanted to mandate radio quality, it's not likely to have even a minor benefit. I just send the kids off on a road trip with a couple new video players [amazon.com]. These are great little no-name devices - they play most formats, come with enough storage for a long car trip (900Kb mpeg4 via ffmpeg), do audio, video, ebooks - and FM radio.

      Now, that last one

      • by paiute (550198)

        Of course, mandating radios in telephones isn't one of the enumerated Powers of Congress last I looked....

        There are enough legitimate arguments against this abomination without dragging out the oft-cited and just-as-oft-refuted argument that if something is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution then Congress has to be blind to it.

        • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:02AM (#33275280) Homepage Journal

          Why get into a utilitarian argument when a principled one will do?

          From Federalist Paper Number 45 [conservativetruth.org]:

          The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

          Did James Madison not know what the Constitution meant? Certainly it's flawed document - often vague - and other people would like it to mean different things, but the original intent is not hard to discern.

    • by s122604 (1018036)
      You are mostly right.
      Although "size and power constraints" issues with FM is kinda overblown.
      Size, maybe (although FM recievers on a chip are tiny). Power, just isn't the case, not for any device capable of transmitting.
      The power drain from receiving is an order of magnitude (or more) less than transmitting,

      I think it's a really cool feature, as there are times when the localized one-to-many format provided by a radio is extremely useful (for news and information mainly).
      Still, I'm not sure it's some
    • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:48AM (#33274522) Journal
      Sir, I am outraged, OUTRAGED, that you oppose consumer choice like FM radio in cell phones, mandatory 78 rpm record players in CD players, and of course the ever-popular integrated 35mm film projector and DVD player.
    • by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @09:22AM (#33274870)

      There's probably a number of size and power constraints as well that result in every single leading cell phone lacking this 'feature.'

      I can't remember the last mobile phone I had that didn't have an FM radio built-in; certainly my last one (LG Viewty) and my current (HTC Desire) both do; perhaps the situation is different in the States.

      Of course whether or not you consider either of these phones to be "leading cell phones" is another matter; the Desire is pretty popular over here at least though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Not really. many MANY Nokia phones have FM radios in them, even with RDS. It's simply the engineers of the other phones being too lazy to add it, or in the case of the iphone fitting 12 pounds of stuff in a 4 pound bag.

      The other problem is that the reception performance of these FM recievers in phones utterly sucks. they are in a nasty RF environment and have the sensitivity of a block of concrete. Only local strong stations come in.

      In the case of smartphones.... why. I get pandora and last.fm as

  • That's all I can really say.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:14AM (#33274226)
    Candles should be built into all light bulbs
  • okay then (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:15AM (#33274236)
    But the music and radio industries say it's a consumer-focused proposition, one that would provide 'more music choices.'

    Alright. Then they should have NO problem with the mandate also including provisions for receiving Pandora, LastFM, Grooveshark, etc on all portable electronic devices. And they should be the one's footing the bill to do so. After all, that would be a "consumer-focused proposition" that "provides more music choices", right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:16AM (#33274240)

    Nobody is allowed to be out of hearing of the marketing.

    Now, I'm all for the manufacturers deciding to add a FM radio (HD radio as well) to a mobile music player, but *mandating* one?

    • by Telecommando (513768) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:47AM (#33274516)

      Personally, I'd rather have a digital TV in my phone. Several of the local stations broadcast weather radar and alerts on one of their sub channels. It would be very useful when out and about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NJRoadfan (1254248)
        Most cell phones with internet already have this capability via a built in widget or on its WAP homepage. If not, a quick visit to a weather website will get the info you need.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jrmcferren (935335)

      Actually I think it is a good idea, but NOT for what they want it for. A way for your cell phone to allow you to get Emergency Alert System notifications is a good idea. But for broadcast reception, they can't put what I want in a cell phone without making it large (ferrite bar antenna) and without a hell of a lot of RFI suppression. I would love to have AM, FM of course would be added on for those who don't have wonderful AM stations or who are a wuss.

  • radio? really!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:18AM (#33274248)

    oh!

    that reminds me, my phone actually already has a radio tuner... how'd i forget that?

    oh right, 20 gigs of my personal music collection.

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:18AM (#33274254)

    If you've got enough money, you can get any laws you want passed. Whenever some pro-consumer anti-large corporation law gets suggested, it gets shot down before you know it - anyone up for some Net Neutrality?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kidgenius (704962)
      Here's the thing though, you also have super mega corporations on the other side that are vehemently against this. The fact that CEA knows about this and is already speaking out should give you some hope. In this instance, you have mega corporations fighting on your side against mega corporations that aren't on your side. Both parties have plenty of cash to come to the table. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Verizon, ATT, TMobile and Sprint could all potentially be against this.
  • by buchanmilne (258619) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:21AM (#33274276) Homepage

    Surely the goal of customer-focused 'more music choices' is already achieved, due to the availability of some models of phones which have FM receivers? The biggest variety of music choice is already provided by phones which have FM receivers and FM transmitters (allowing users to also choose whether they want to listen to their digital music on their devices on car radio or similar), but I guess these groups wouldn't want to mandate FM transmitters ...

    Mandating that all phones have FM receivers sounds to be less customer-focused, customers already have choices at present.

  • This bill is another bone thrown to special interests. Like the others, we're all expected to subsidize a dying industry.

    Some libertarians may be extremists, but the free market is a better regulator.

    Government of good intentions results in votes being covertly up for sale covertly, while the free market operates above ground.

  • by Pollux (102520)

    Well, that makes about as much sense as putting an FM radio into a cell phone.

    Wait a sec...

  • by Tryfen (216209) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:32AM (#33274344) Homepage

    Nokia sell over 20 different models in the USA with built in FM - http://www.nokiausa.com/find-products/phones [nokiausa.com]

  • If consumers WANTED FM Radios in their devices, they would be there already.

    The real truth is that with the Internet, consumers have bazillions of choices already as far as what they wish to listen to or view, and adding FM radio would only add a tiny fraction to those choices.

    Besides, many radio stations already stream their content over the Internet, anyway, making FM even less relevant.

    Let's face the cold hard facts: Broadcast media is on its way out. Good bye and good riddens. Only a handful of c

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:45AM (#33274482)

      Don't forget the FM radio arena has been abandoned by virtually everyone. You might hear a radio blasting at a construction site because it is cheaper than someone attaching a MP3 player, but that essentially is it.

      15 years ago, FM radio was different. New bands played all the time.

      Now, FM radio is not worth the time of day. "Rock" stations are in a time warp and are still playing Blind Melon, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana as the absolute latest music they bother to listen to. You might catch a 1 hour show at midnight on a Friday that has recent music, but that is essentially it. To boot, it is the same songs, about 100-400 that play over and over.

      This is also an issue with other stations, be it hip-hop, country, Tejano, or one's genre of choice -- the vibrancy that radio used to have about 15-20 years ago is lost. People don't click on a FM radio station to hear new stuff, they go to last.fm or Pandora.

  • by scsirob (246572) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:32AM (#33274352)

    but I bought my phone to make phone calls?!?
    - Not to listen to the radio
    - Not to play MP3
    - Not to watch movies
    - Not to vacuum the room
    - Not to bake breadrolls ..etc

    And that is my choise and I am perfectly happy with it.
    Thank you

    • by will_die (586523) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:39AM (#33274412) Homepage
      A cell phone with a built in easy-bake oven!!!!!
      Where do I get it?
      Besides where is the love for AM radio.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your phone will vacuum? My kids won't even do that!
    • I need more sleep, I read

      - Not to do barrel rolls

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      Same here. A few months ago I ditched my Crackberry and the data plan and picked up a Motorola Barrage. My friends keep going through new Androids and iPhones like no tomorrow. Some of them have a new phone every couple of weeks. At least mine is more-or-less shaped like a phone and not a chocolate bar, and thus I can hear and be heard when I *gasp* make a voice call. Plus its insanely hard to break. I already dropped it about 6 feet onto pavement and hardly a scratch, let alone functional damage. Let

    • by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:51AM (#33274550)

      but I bought my phone to make phone calls?!?

      Well, I bought my phone so I could make a phone call to tell you to get off my lawn.

    • It is your age. The only reason I have a phone at all is to talk to old people like you :P
    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:13AM (#33275404)

      It's you - time moved on and in the entire world of communications plain voice chat is only a minor fraction of the overall landscape. Your post would be akin to 20 years ago someone posting:

      "Maybe it's just my age, but I bought my computer to manage my finances.

      - Not play games.
      - Not go on the "internets"
      - Not send messages to other people
      - Not create art or music
      "

      If you want to limit yourself then fine, but I find it . . . odd . . . to look down upon anyone who doesn't want a version of the device that's cripple down to only it's most core functionality (a functionality whose role has been greatly diminished).

      Specifically I know plenty of people with smartphones who would much sooner give up the phone portion of their device than their mobile internet access.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        Specifically I know plenty of people with smartphones who would much sooner give up the phone portion of their device than their mobile internet access.

        Those people, like me, can buy iPod Touches. It's my primary personal computer these days.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:34AM (#33274364) Journal

    I for god sakes hope AM radio equipment is not portable, or the logical feedback loop could explode the universe!

    Some USB sticks can do more. Do they count? Does every mobile phone, no matter how simple now have to have a FM radio inside? What about official equipment. Walkie Talkie? GPS device?

    Insanity, thy name is the entertainment industry. Guess they did their job, I am quite entertained. If you can't laugh at the programs, then at least you can laugh at the people who make them.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:34AM (#33274368)
    Seriously aside from taking one product and attempting to turn it into a completely different product, why target FM? Don't you have digital radios which could be the "awesome next best thing in mobile phones" to put in there? What about satellite radio, we don't even have that here, but that could also be an awesome product.

    Why FM? People don't listen to the radio, people use the radio as a background piece of music. If I wanted to listen to the radio I wouldn't take an iPod to work, since there's already a radio playing faintly in the background. I mean it's not like this hasn't been put to a free market vote. I've seen cell phones advertised with FM radios. Half the people don't even know they have them.

    This makes no sense what so ever. I would have expected the *IAA to try and cut backroom deals with carriers to offer some kind of digital download service that is pay for play, but seriously FM? I mean this shit is free and people still don't use it. Even if it is included in every phone, who would use it that hasn't already bought a phone with FM receiver built in?
  • While I would love to have an AM/FM radio built into my phone, I don't agree that the government should be mandating that. It does really bug me that my phone (an HTC Hero with Sprint) offers multiple "radio" channels through the phone, at least until the mobile network connection shuts down, while still indicating it is connected, after about 30 minutes, but I can't get any local stations.

    While they're mandating FM radio, they might as well get AM in there, too. And while they're at it, how about forcing m

  • The cost of adding an FM radio to any device is very small, the entire radio is available on a single chip. The headphone cord is used as the antenna. Given a choice I'd rather buy an MP3 player with a radio than one without (hey Apple do you hear me?). I'm not sure that a radio belongs in a phone, but then again I don't think a phone makes a good camera either. If they craft the regulation requiring any digital music player to come with a radio, that might make sense. So phones without mp3 players wou

  • This will not pass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:43AM (#33274460)

    This sort of thing would only pass if it could be done under the radar, so the fact that the CEA is fulminating against it means that its prospects are dim, and deservedly so.

  • A "...consumer-focused proposition..." is communicated by market preferences and purchasing choices, isn't it?

    (I mean, instead of a backroom deal negotiated by self-selected 'representatives' and the 'industry'.)

  • Business Plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frightened_Turtle (592418) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @08:44AM (#33274468)

    Once again, RIAA (along with others) is seeking a way to force its business plan/model into law. I can only say, if your business plan isn't working, it's time to change the way you do business or close the doors. NOT change the law!

    If people don't want your product or the way it is packaged, they won't buy it. If you want people to buy your product, then offer them something they actually want! Don't try to force consumers to buy something by forcing them to buy it because it is the law. Sink or Swim!

  • What they SHOULD have done is approach various safety and emergency interested groups and organizations. In much the same way that 9-1-1 service has been mandated for mobile phones, "The Emergency Broadcast System" should be available in places that have been found to replace the typical radio receiver device.

    Such a spin could win favor from all sorts of groups out there. While the article does mention this, it's at the VERY last paragraph... you know... the one about three to four paragraphs below where

  • I'm all for it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Izhido (702328)

    ... even if only to force Google to activate the d@#+ FM radio the Nexus One is supposed to have...

  • My Droid has something far superior to FM radio, so I don't see the need to have yet another chip in my phone.

    My guess (and I'll admit to not RTFA) is that they're talking about installing HD Radio equipment really, not just FM Radio.

  • I didn't buy an iPod until the first one with an FM radio came out about 18 months ago.

    I also chose an HTC Desire partly for the FM radio.

    There's some great FM programming in the UK and France from the BBC and Radio France.

    So if all handheld devices had FM radios, that would be great for me personally, but bugger-all to do with government.

    'The height of absurdity' makes it sound just silly, but it's actually quite frightening that industry lobby groups would even think they have a chance of pushing laws lik

  • If I want some GOOD auto-tuned music, I'll listen to Auto-tune The News on youtube, thank you very much.
  • The one conceptual advantage of radio is that it's inherently multicast. Building the bandwidth to handle everybody as an individual TCP/IP link is sometimes ridiculous. Of course, that has nothing to do with the intent of trying to require a device so you can then require a service charge. Oh, and my iRiver MP3 player has an FM radio . . . from ten years ago . . .
  • In Other News... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @10:12AM (#33275400) Homepage Journal

    In other news the RIAA and broadcast radio stations all become utterly irrelevant in less than 10 years time. In 15 years time it's "RIAA who?" and "What's FM/AM?"

    Want to listen to streaming music on the go?

    Pandora
    Grooveshark
    Last.fm

    And I'm sure there are a host of others. Want to download that music? emusic and sites like it exist and have existed for decades (anyone remember mp3.com before they were sued?). The fact that the RIAA is still relevant today is a miracle of pure momentum and PR-blitz that has been going on since the original Napster hit the scene. The fact that broadcast radio is still around is pure momentum and the fact that putting in cd players that read MP3s is still an option in many cars (as is the CD-player itself). I'm not one to believe that the car manufacturers are in cahoots with broadcast radio (much like they are claimed to be in cahoots with the oil industry (a lot more believable considering the money involved in oil)), but it sure does smack of it considering the availability of CDs since at least as early as 1980 (with a prototype being shown in 1979 [wikipedia.org]). We are now 30 years on into not only the digital audio revolution, but 50 years or more into the computer revolution. No SSDs of substantial size in cars to store audio (or even movies and images for those long drives) in a vehicle yet? When SSD technology is arguably 70 years old [wikipedia.org]?

    I guess maybe the broadcast radio folks are in cahoots with car manufacturers because, aside from supposed cost to implement, I see no reason why your average, non-Green car shouldn't have some (if not all) of these as standard features.

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @11:06AM (#33276006) Homepage Journal

    To convince our government to say NO!

    "The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage"

    Me? I'm merely smoking a little. No one has noticed yet.

    "The two sides hope to strike a grand bargain: radio would agree to pay around $100 million a year (less than it feared), but in return it would get access to a larger market through the mandated FM radio chips in portable devices."

    Oh yeah, access is good. Now, who's going to convince the masses to turn ON those chips?

    But wait, there's more...

    It won't be long before the radio (and music) industry will want a tax on radios. They are already trying this by feeing the stations now on the air, and Internet stations. Next would be a tax on receivers. How convenient, millions of new receivers. The tax won't be much, a few bucks per unit. Of course, the new receivers in phones would pretty much quadruple the number of units, and presto, profit!

    Outrageous. This is an excellent opportunity. Congress, just say no...

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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