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

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the who-said-reason-was-dead dept.

Cellphones 489

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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489 comments

Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274220)

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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (3, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274570)

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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274602)

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 scumbags out of office. There are a lot of problems with or government, but people can put in the effort and we could fix things. I actually think there is room for a real grassroots movement (not promoted by an advertising agency on behalf of people with vested interests). I'd vote for an independent candidate whose platform was to make lobbying by corporations and foreign governments completely illegal, and I think a lot of other people would too. I'd vote for a candidate who promised to vote for electoral reform and destroy the two party lock-in. Put up a few posters and ads that read "The Republicans and Democratic parties are both full of corrupt dirtbags in the pockets of Wall Street fat cats. Lets clean house!" I bet there are a lot of people like me who are angry at and sick of the status quo and would go for a reform party who actually tried to make a real change and expelled members who were demonstrably corrupt or dishonest.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274288)

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

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (3, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (1)

floatednerd (1667997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274422)

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that you had to pay a monthly fee to listen to Pandora on a mobile device.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (4, Informative)

surgen (1145449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274668)

No, it is free. You may be thinking of groveshark which only had a few day trial on my phone (I don't know what their web based pricing is like). Pandora on mobile actually has fewer audio ads than on the web (and the google on screen ones are as unobtrusive as ads get). The 40 hour/month limit might still apply.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Informative)

Shadis (934448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274676)

You are indeed incorrect actually. I listen to Pandora pretty much every day on my Iphone and other than the occasional audio ad injected into the streaming music there is nothing that I pay for.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274448)

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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Informative)

krem81 (578167) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274518)

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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (1, Flamebait)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274566)

Duhhh I'm a consumer! I like all those funny thingz those personalities say on FM radio! Their just so clever with everything they think of! Where do they get that insightful information? And how do they know the same ten songs, all new, that I want to hear? Oh oh oh! Gotta be cultured, I think I'll listen to this classical station!

Durrrr Buy buy buy! Consume consume consume! What they've provided for me is good enough! I've gotta keep spending!

How the fuck can you enjoy broadcast radio and have an IQ above 80?

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274592)

I wouldn't buy an MP3 player without an FM radio. It's how I listen to NPR. The MP3 part is how I listen to audiobooks and podcasts of NPR shows that aren't carried on my local station or are on when I'm at work.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274290)

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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Insightful)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274372)

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:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274378)

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 seems odd, doesn't it? I thought so and decided to check it out, just for grins. Now, I don't live in an area with much on the dial, and I have good radios at the house for picking up more distant stations, but there are 3-4 strong local stations that can be heard anywhere. Except on these little things. The FM radio is effectively useless, the strongest stations cut in and out.

My suspicion is some marketdroid insisted on that extra feature, but whoever designed the unit for sale (or at the Chinese reference design) knew that almost nobody would use it and keeping the price low was the biggest goal. So they put in a very very cheap, worthless radio. All that really results in is a slightly higher price, more UI clutter, and probably slightly reduced battery life.

Any mandate like this would likely result in the same course of action, mostly causing harm. Of course, mandating radios in telephones isn't one of the enumerated Powers of Congress last I looked, so I can't blame the *AA or corrupt politicians quite so much as the People who let them get away with this nonsense. And, perhaps ultimately, they'll be the ones who wind up shouldering the outcome with crappier phones.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274582)

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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (1)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274428)

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 something manufacturers should be MADE to provide. As has been pointed out, there are phones that already offer this feature.

Radio not needed - but emergency SMS is! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274484)

There is only one reason why you need a radio - in case they broadcast an emergency event.
But as most people are listening to MP3's or reading emails- nobody will hear them.

Radio has been superseded by SMS alerts - Cyclone/Bush Fire. In Australia they just got it sorted out by mobile tower location.

Even better would be to have SMS alerts hooked up to GPS , or some kind of filter. It sure would be handy to set groupings (firemen, police, doctors, people with earthmoving equipment) before the next earthquake hits.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (5, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274522)

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.

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274620)

I agree, open source and 3rd party music is where it's at, where the music is innovative and interesting, not just more of the exact same over and over and over..

Anyway sounds like a good poll question: do you listen to FM radio?

Myself.. I think I turned the radio on sometime 20 years ago.. maybe..

Re:Consumer Focus or Consumer Manipulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274648)

I agree 1000% (no, not a typo). Anything that comes out of the RIAA's mouth ( or from any industry spokesperson ) I automatically assume it's a lie designed to F*$% us, the consumers, over. Especially since the whole sue 'em all campaign the RIAA has run.

Show me the figures to back up your statements you slimy greaseballs and I'll think about it, but please, Please, PLEASE do not assume that you are MY best friend only looking out for MY best interests. Why can't you just come out and admit it that we, the consumers, are seen by your type as nothing more than a revenue stream???

Fucktard liars, each and every one of them.

(ok, ok, i'll get off my soapbox . . .)

totally stupid (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274224)

That's all I can really say.

Sure and maybe (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274226)

Candles should be built into all light bulbs

Re:Sure and maybe (2, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274386)

Buggy whips obligatory with all new cars?

Re:Sure and maybe (1)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274538)

Don't forget the horseshoe lobby!

Re:Sure and maybe (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274586)

I guess everyone forgot the needs of the Horse. We will also need to have Feed Bags, Flat Edge Shovels, and Watering Troughs in new cars.

Re:Sure and maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274424)

Candles should be built into all light bulbs

They already are. Haven't you heard of "candle power"?

First Trout on the Radio! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274228)

I am a FISH

Because I need that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274234)

We've survived this long with out it, why force it on us now? Its going to be something else to drain the battery of our cellphones even more. Also, I don't listen to the radio now, this won't change my listening habit. I use Pandora, thank you

okay then (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Sounds like 1984 again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Sounds like 1984 again (3, Interesting)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:Sounds like 1984 again (2, Informative)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274654)

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:Sounds like 1984 again (2, Interesting)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274632)

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!? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:radio? really!? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274670)

Mine has one too (with RDS, fancy that, too bad its useless in the US), but it goes unused because you need a headset connected (to use as an antenna). Who uses wired headsets with cellphones these days?

Re:radio? really!? (5, Interesting)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274708)

We should all read between the lines. It is not about mandating an FM receiver in each phone, it is about adding broadcasting fees to each phone bill.

This one is going to pass (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:This one is going to pass (2, Interesting)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274688)

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. NAB and RIAA for. I'll take the technologists in this one. I do have an interesting question...let's say that this somehow passed, and they were mandated to put FM radio tuners into all phones. I could easily see that the manufacturers would have FM on their chips, but either A) Turn off the capability to use it (like the Nexus One) or B) Make teh FM reception so piss-poor as to be near useless. The manufacturers could point and say "Look, we put em in there, you never said anything about making them work, or even work well. Sorry"

Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (1, Funny)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274272)

any FM radio has to have some sort of antenna to receive the signals

WHERE WILL YOU PUT THIS ON AN iPHONE??

maybe the broadcasters should begin providing a simple way for web devices to get the raw webstream instead??

right now most radiostations either don't provide a webstream or they wrap it into a 5 meg flash applet with a half dozen ads builtin taking up 80% of the bandwidth.

(oh and don't you dare try to go to another tab or otherwise not have THE HOLY PLAYER APPLET in front of you)

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (5, Informative)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274282)

any FM radio has to have some sort of antenna to receive the signals

WHERE WILL YOU PUT THIS ON AN iPHONE??

My symbian has an FM radio built in, the antenna is the earphones which you attach to it. You need the earphones to listen to the radio, even if you put it on speaker.

Dude you missed the point (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274404)

He said "antenna" and "iPhone" in the same sentence. That makes it an obFunny.

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274488)

So does the mandate state that the FM radio must be working or just that it must be included in the device? A simple FM circuit could easily be placed on the edge of a chip, don't need to connect any discreet components... if they want to be stupid then hang them with their own stupidity... (nice mixed metaphor! Yay me!)

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (0)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274302)

any FM radio has to have some sort of antenna to receive the signals WHERE WILL YOU PUT THIS ON AN iPHONE??
No need to shout, dude. The antenna will be the cord of the headphones like it is on just about all existing phones w/ FM receivers. Btw govt. mandating this is dumb, but if they can coerce you to buy health insurance why not make cellphones be FM players.

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274304)

Virtually all FM-capable portable electronics(there are actually quite a few, the chip is tiny and cheap) just use the headphone cable as a makeshift FM aerial. Works well enough, and is something that everybody is using anyway.

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274306)

any FM radio has to have some sort of antenna to receive the signals

WHERE WILL YOU PUT THIS ON AN iPHONE??

I'm not sure about my current phone, but my last one only enabled the FM receiver when you had headphones plugged in. It used the headphone cord for the antenna, so there was no need for an internal one.

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274342)

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the wireless chipset used in the iPhone and the iPad already have a FM tuner? I remember reading somewhere that the wireless chipsets that Apple used has a FM tuner built-in but apple just didn't develop the software and drivers for it so they could encourage people to get their music from iTunes instead.

Re:Okay so then Steve Jobs will have a problem (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274370)

Yes, god forbid they have to reengineer the antenna on the iPhone 4.

Some phones already have FM receivers (2, Insightful)

buchanmilne (258619) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274276)

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.

Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274296)

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.

Where in the Berne convention is this explicit copyright exemption for US local radio broadcasters? Why have the RIAA not employed non-US based collections agencies to prosecute such widespread commercial scale piracy?

Implementing FM radio is so cheap that if there were market demand for endless Clear Channels (sic) and MOR RIAA payola, every cell phone would already have them.

Bollocks (1)

athe!st (1782368) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274298)

More choice? why not let people choose if they want to pay more for some extra for extra functionality

Re:Bollocks (1)

jex.pwn (1776062) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274336)

Exactly, that way, when you bug a smart phone you can pick: Wifi or Radio.

WTF??? (2, Funny)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274308)

FM receivers on phones??? What's next? A mandate that portable electronic devices be able to play phonographs??? It's the 21st century, people! I'm old enough to be able to say "Get off my lawn, you damn kids!" but even I think this is stupid and backwards.

I C U (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274318)

Google:

XMIT "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"
forums.qrz.com

Re:I C U (1)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274498)

Right, this is all just a ploy by the NSA, so that the can roll out billions of dollars in ELINT assets to track the average smartphone user..

Newsflash, its a cell phone, it probably is chatting away with the local tower, and it probably has a GPS chip...

This might not be the best idea, but I don't think this is a clever attempt by the man to find out where you are....

Special interests control our government (1)

hessian (467078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274324)

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.

Hmm... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274328)

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

Wait a sec...

But lots of phones already have FM radio (4, Informative)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274344)

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

Re:But lots of phones already have FM radio (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274574)

to bad for Nokia no one buys them...

Beyond Stupid!!!!! (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274350)

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 choices, and 99% of them lousy or mediocre.

And the FM "feature" that nobody really wants (nor would listen to in all probability) would be at the expense of some other feature consumers may actually want.

Government needs to stay the hell out of regulating the "free" marketplace. Consumers can and will make the choices they want, and the manufacturers can and will respond to those choices to grab marketshare.

The Government and the RIAA can go please themselves elsewhere. Leave the rest of us ALONE!

Re:Beyond Stupid!!!!! (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

It must be my age.. (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 3 years ago | (#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

Re:It must be my age.. (3, Funny)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274412)

A cell phone with a built in easy-bake oven!!!!!
Where do I get it?
Besides where is the love for AM radio.

Re:It must be my age.. (1)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274672)

AM radio, that's what I was thinking, but the engineering would be difficult and make the phone large (bar antenna anyone).

Re:It must be my age.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274434)

Your phone will vacuum? My kids won't even do that!

Re:It must be my age.. (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274480)

I need more sleep, I read

- Not to do barrel rolls

Re:It must be my age.. (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274544)

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. Lets see those fancy smartphones do that.

Re:It must be my age.. (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:It must be my age.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274558)

More power to you then. Personally I bought mine so I wouldn't have to carry around:

1 Compact camera,
1 Music playing device
1 Phone
1 Calendar
1 Clock

I don't know about you, but I only have so many pockets, and a mind not suited to constantly keep track of a large number of lose items.

Re:It must be my age.. (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274638)

It is your age. The only reason I have a phone at all is to talk to old people like you :P

Screwing over a third party == win? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274356)

Wait, so, the RIAA and radio broadcasters can't make a deal over long-standing royalty issues, so they get together with congress to screw over a third party (electronics manufacturers) to solve the problem?

What the hell? Yeah, I'd be "incandescent with rage" too.

What about my portable radio? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274364)

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.

FM? No digital radio? What about an AM tuner? (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:FM? No digital radio? What about an AM tuner? (1)

polle404 (727386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274710)

because *IAA has bullied the s* out of the FM stations & regulators, their royalties from the FM transmissions are on par with the ludicrous %s they steal from their artists.

Their inability to embrace the digital age has left them with a pittance (compaired to FM) on the digital rights.
They're lobbying for the piece of equipment that'll make them the most money, not the most sense.

customer desired, yes; mandated, no. (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274392)

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 manufacturers to throw in a digital TV tuner as well, so I can watch broadcast digital TV? Of course, just because they force the manufacturers to add all this in, that doesn't mean the phone companies won't disable it. Every phone I have ever had has had manufacturer-advertised features disabled by Sprint while sometimes Sprint offers that feature for an extra price (mostly, a serial or USB connection to backup the data on my phone). Now that I have a "smart" phone, what I really need most is a longer-lasting battery.

Anyway, it should be competition and customer demand that drives them to add features like this, not government mandates driven by the music industry.

License issues abroad (1)

Fjodor42 (181415) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274402)

I do happen to know for a fact, that if you posses a device capable of receiving radio here in Denmark - you are required to pay a rather steep license fee to DR (Danmarks Radio - Danish Radio), the official public radio and TV of Denmark. It is increasingly difficult to avoid paying license, since now, even an internet connection faster than 384kB/s make you eligible (for internet radio and TV). However, I have dodged it so far, by uninstalling the relevant codecs as well as using an old mobile phone without net, and confirmed with the bureau that it voids my eligibility. Seems these kinds of shenanigans would just make my life a bit harder if applied to other devices, since I assume manufacturers would likely push these devices to the overseas markets as well...

Thank you ever so much :-(

Pandora (1)

augi01 (1209002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274426)

If I want "more music choices" I will simply create a new Pandora station using the Pandora app for iPhone. Hell, I'll even pay the $36.00/yr to remove the adds, receive better audio quality, and support the Music Genome Project. What I will not do, however, is turn on FM radio.

No big deal (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274440)

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 would not have to come with a radio. Actually, I'm waiting for Victorinox to make a cell phone. It would be interresting to see what they stuff into it.

Re:No big deal (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274562)

My car has a good radio, but I also think it wouldn't make a good camera. Technological convergence is hard!

Re:No big deal (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274598)

Given a choice I'd rather buy an MP3 player with a radio than one without (hey Apple do you hear me?)

Well, I doubt that Apple was listening to you, but were you even paying attention? [apple.com]

Given the Choice (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274454)

Given the choice, who actually listens to the radio? I have avoided radio for many years. There is nothing at all on the radio for me. I want a phone that is a phone and do not want extra crap built in that I do not need. People who want radio on their phones can already get such devices. I hope that the powers that be will show rare common sense and throw this one out without a second thought. But somehow I can't help thinking that they will at least waste some time and and tax money debating the bill - it it ever gets that far. I certainly hope not!

This will not pass (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Last Time I Checked... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274466)

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 (4, Insightful)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 3 years ago | (#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!

Free-market proponents want govt intervention (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274502)

when it suits them. What else is new?

They took the wrong spin on this (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274508)

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 most people stop reading?

Simply, they should not speak much about royalties and performance rights and the like while trying to get this through -- they should speak to the "more important need" while acknowledging that they also have a commercial interest honestly when asked.

I almost hope it does happen. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33274512)

What's really shocking here is that the RIAA has so much clout in Congress that they can use it as a negotiating tool in lieu of offering anything themselves.

Just look at what happens to each party involved:

-NAB pays $100 million to RIAA, and doubtless foots part of the lobbying costs, in exchange for access to the miniscule number of people who have dumb phones but not radios.

-CEA spends millions in engineering costs to develop and implement FM into all handsets.

-Collectively, consumers spend millions to offset CEA's costs. In return, they get something that they could have gotten before, only now they have no choice.

-Legislators get some campaign checks, and maybe some free dinners.

-RIAA gets $100 million in exchange for part of the lobbying costs.

If this goes through, it will be bald-faced, definitive proof that legislators have absolutely no regard for anything except money. Ordinarily, this is no big deal, but if Joe Schmoe suddenly has to pay more for his cell phone on account of such blatant pandering, this could be just the sort of eye-opener that the public so desperately needs.

Re:I almost hope it does happen. (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274682)

> if Joe Schmoe suddenly has to pay more for his cell phone on account of such blatant pandering, this could be just the sort of eye-opener that the public so desperately needs.

Yeah, right. Nothing can defeat Joe Schmoe's apathy and you know it.

They (NAB,RIAA) obviously overlooked one thing (1)

atchijov (527688) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274520)

This will only work if they push other pice of legislation which will make listening to FM radio compulsory.

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

Izhido (702328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274564)

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

Already have Sirius, kthxbye (1)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274596)

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 have a proposition (1)

Mattskimo (1452429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274604)

Congress should pass a mandate that all employees of the RIAA shal be fitted with FM receivers and cochlear implants. The receivers should automatically tune to the station in range that within the last 24 hours has played the highest number of tunes by RIAA affiliated artists. The noise will not be able to be turned off and tampering with the implants will carry the same penalty as sharing 10,000 songs.

Just what we need ... more laws (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274636)

Every time some special interest group manages to get a new law passed, we, the tax payers, get stuck with the cost of enforcing it. The more laws we have, the less enforceable they become. Passing another law just dilutes the laws we already have.

I want and use FM radios, but not at any expense. (1)

radio4fan (304271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274656)

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 like this through.

No thank you. (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274696)

If I want some GOOD auto-tuned music, I'll listen to Auto-tune The News on youtube, thank you very much.

Only part that makes sense: Multicast (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33274700)

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 . . .
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