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CEA, CTIA Pans NAB Radio Poll

9/23/2010 09:00:00 AM Eastern

WASHINGTON – A National Association of Broadcasters
(NAB) poll saying that most cellphone owners
would consider paying a fee to get local radio
stations from their devices was brushed off by the
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CTIAThe
Wireless Association.

NAB’s poll, released last week, found 76 percent of cellphone owners would consider paying a one-time
fee of 30 cents to access local radio stations through a
built-in radio chip.

The poll was published while the broadcast and music
industries continue discussions to tie an agreement
over radio station royalties to a federal mandate that all
portable electronics incorporate an FM radio tuner.

CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement
that his group agrees “that some consumers may
want phones with FM receivers, pointing out that “numerous
models of radio-equipped phones are already
on the market.” But, he said, “NAB forgot to ask they
key question: Do Americans really want the government
designing their phones and digital devices?”

The NAB, he continued, “doesn’t care what consumers
want.” NAB instead wants “to make the consumer
buy a radio whether they want one or not.”

For his part, CTIA VP Jot Carpenter said the FM chip
mandate sought by NAB “would reduce innovation and
limit consumer choice.” FM capability is already available
for consumers who want to access over-the-air radio
on their mobile devices, he said. But “the majority of
consumers do not want that capability, and the notion
that they want to pay more for a functionality they do not
want is ridiculous,” he stated.

The NAB poll, conducted by Harris Interactive,
found that 66 percent of all adults would use a cellphone
to access local radio stations, 40 percent of
cellphone users would “strongly consider” paying 30
cents extra for such a cellphone, and another 36 percent
would probably considering paying extra. Also,
73 percent of all adults called it very or somewhat important
during emergencies to have a cellphone with
built-in radio.

The poll was published while the NAB and music industry
discuss potential limits on the amount of additional
royalties that they want radio broadcasters to pay
while giving the music industry more potential access
to more listeners through portable devices.

The music industry wants terrestrial AM and FM
broadcasters to start paying royalties to artists and music
companies for the songs they broadcast. By law,
radio broadcasters have had to pay royalties only to
songwriters, but new broadcast media such as satellite
radio and webcasters pay royalties to songwriters, artists
and music companies.