This website claims that "wireless carriers are dragging their feet and won’t activate the FM chips that are in every smart phone." This is interesting.
Why would wireless carriers need to activate FM chips that are allegedly in every smart phone? Wouldn't that be the manufacture's job?
FreeRadioOnMyPhone.org further claims that the radio industry, phone manufacturers, and Sprint have joined forces which "resulted in the software necessary to enable the FM tuner in smart phones on all carriers."
That's pretty much all they say. They claim that all phones made today have a deactivated FM tuner, and that Sprint is the only major telecom in the U.S. that is on board.
According to VPR, "the other major carriers – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – have refused, even though it would cost them nothing." It's hard to believe that activating this would cost them nothing.
Oh? It would cost them nothing you say?
Those carriers would have to implement software allowing the use of the FM chip, or they would have to remove software that is blocking it. Either way, that is working hours and money. Furthermore, depending on the company, they may have to hire more (or retrain) support personnel to provide proper customer support for the additional feature.
A reoccurring theme from radio's side is safety. Many advocates of FM feel that it promotes public safety. FM radio is certainly available in places where data may not be able to reach in an emergency, but how many people would be listening to FM on their phone?
It's plausible that during a bad storm someone may think to turn the radio on via the phone for additional information when data doesn't work, but if public safety is the big reason for the push, why not AM? AM travels much further than FM which would be ideal in an emergancy, especially if local FM and data towers have been shut down due to massive power outage.
This is certainly an interesting campaign, but they don't seem to care enough. The radio advertises this movement, but when you go to their site...
Here are the recent related articles available on the site:
That's only three recent articles, and only one of them is less than six months old. What kind of campaign has no activity? Even the twitter feed they display on site has tweets from April 14th and before that the sixth.
Just to prove a point, here is their entire "learn more" section:
We are a collection of public and commercial radio organizations that know just how simple it would be for carriers to activate the FM chip in smart phones. For no additional cost, listeners could have easy access to radio for the entertainment they love and information they need, but wireless carriers are dragging their feet and won’t activate the FM chips that are in every smart phone. The heavy lifting has already been done. The collaboration between the radio industry and Sprint, as well as work with major phone manufacturers, resulted in the software necessary to enable the FM tuner in smart phones on all carriers. Now it’s just a matter of action.
That's it. We're supposed to get all riled up and contact our carriers. 110 words, 656 characters. That's less than five tweets. Five tweets and some old news articles. Step up your game freeradioonmyphone.org.
I really do like the idea of have radio on my phone, I never use it, but I like that it's there. It is curious that big red and big blue would actively block FM. Are they trying to get people to spend more data? Probably.
In either case, I expect more from this movement considering I found out about it via FM radio. They apparently have the radio industry and Sprint backing them, but their website is nearly useless.
Why bother having, or supporting for that matter, a campaign if there is going to be no attempt to get it off the ground?
The thought of the radio calling out mobile companies peaked my interest, but the website makes me simply not care.