NAB defends FM radio cell-phone requirements

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is firing back at a volley of criticism that it has taken over the past week concerning a proposal to require handset makers to include FM radio chips in mobile devices.

The proposal, which is packaged in a compromise legislative framework the NAB reached with the music industry in an attempt to resolve the long-simmering fight battle over performance royalties, drew the ire of several technology trade groups, including the Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA, the principal association representing wireless carriers.

In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, those groups urged lawmakers to ignore the call for mandatory FM chips, claiming that mobile consumers aren’t interested in broadcast radio, and that the NAB’s claims that the technology would be a boon to public safety are just a smokescreen for a political bid to save a dying industry.

Not so, says Dennis Wharton, the NAB’s executive vice president of communications.

Wharton shot back in a blog post on Wednesday, rebutting the claims CTIA, CEA and the other groups point by point.

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