Broadcasters want FM radios in all cell phones

Ars Technica
The National Association of Broadcasters on Tuesday voted in support of a proposal to require that mobile phones include FM radio capability. In return, the NAB agreed that terrestrial radio stations should pay a licensing fee for music they broadcast. Terrestrial broadcast radio stations, unlike their satellite and online radio counterparts, do not pay “performance fee” royalties for music they air.

The NAB, in approving this proposal and forwarding its specific terms to the musicFIRST Coalition, hopes to tie the longstanding fee dispute to its interest in getting a broadcast foothold on mobile devices.

Matthew Lasar writes that cell phone makers wasted no time in responding with a letter from Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association:

“Radio is a legacy horse and buggy industry trying to put limits on innovative new industries to preserve its former monopoly. The industry’s refusal to innovate to the benefit of consumers raises questions about the ongoing wisdom of broadcaster use of publicly owned spectrum that could better be used for broadband services that serve the public interest.”

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