Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Cell Phone Mandate

There is a bill pending in Congress to require FM radios in cell phones.

The FM chip mandate is an attempt to mollify the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters); under the terms of the Performance Rights Act, the [broadcast- ed.] industry would pay approximately $100 million to broadcast music on terrestrial radio. The inclusion of FM chips in all mobile devices would purportedly give broadcasters access to a wider audience. But it’s the consumer companies (and by extension, the consumer) who get the shaft in this deal.

This is little more than a government-mandated crutch for a legacy technology—no better than the EPA’s attempts to legislate a longer lifespan for incandescent lifebulbs. The high popularity of Sirius, XM, and internet radio shows where the market is headed. This new government mandate apparently removes a “competitive disadvantage” (to quote an EPA spokesman) for AM/FM Radio.

CEA President Gary Shapiro is furious, and rightfully so. “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,” he said. “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.” It’s understandable that Shapiro would feel blindsided, since the CEA (the very companies to implement the FM chips) wasn’t consulted.
Having worked in the music industry a long time ago: juke box servicing, juke box mfg., Chief Engineer at a radio station, I can tell you the whole industry is totally mobbed up. I was just discussing it with my mom who used to know a lot of the people in the industry in Omaha and she agrees.

And now the criminals get to whisper in the ears of our government. And just to get a political dig in: is it any surprise when the head of our government comes from one of the most mobbed up cities in the nation?

And who is going to pay for another chip that must be included in the cell phones? Well it is not going to be the music industry. Plus, I wonder if they have considered the antenna issues?

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Neil said...

Antenna issues were just what I was thinking. Bring back the brick!

David said...

Antenna issues are easy to fix. Just have the government subsidize the broadcasting industry to put an FM repeater on every block, and you won't need much of an antenna.

They'd certainly demand it if they thought they could get away with it.