CEA, CTIA Pans NAB Radio Poll

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– 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.


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