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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Gary Shapiro

Thanks for the commentary and the great advice for radio broadcasters -

But you totally missed the point about why radio is now a "buggy whip" industry!

It is a "buggy whip" industry simply because ther NAB is seeking a government handout for radio. Asking Congress to require a FM tuner in handheld devices is an admission of irrelevancy. Kind of like if a century ago buggy whip makers went to Congress and required a horse be put in front of every car!

But hey why stop there? Why not require FM radios in pillows, bicycles and computers?

Now maybe Congress will focus on the fact that radio is using borrowed public spectrum and most radio stations are unmanned and can't respond to a local emergency!

We will oppose any FM antennae and chip mandate but if it gets any movement at all in Congress we will insist the royalty be doubled and the wireless industry be paid directly by the radio broadcasters. Fair's fair.

Radio may be about sound - but the broadcaster demand of Congress is deaf to the reality that Americans do not want Congress mandating. Have some fun and google the blogs that wrote about this proposal this week and see all the consumer responses. In a slow news August, radio is becoming the laughingstock of the blogoshhere.

The NAB demand that FM be mandated simply makes radio look like a desperate dying industry that needs a government hand out.

Man up radio! Stop whining and start competing!


Gary, thanks for taking the time to respond. Thanks for bringing your viewpoint to the blog. Would love to hear from others - inside and outside of radio - on this key issue.

John Sutton

When I first had a cell phone it had no camera: Wonder why they all do now?
Maybe to do with what people want?
Internet access. Oh no. Not then. And now?
In the end every extra costs and in the case of a tuner chip (should that be FM, AM, SW, DRM, DAB, DAB+,DAB-IP,DMB,or HD since it's for the US which seems to like standards incompatible with most of the world when it comes to digital radio or cell phones - or just the ability to listen to an Internet stream?) will also use considerable extra power, with consequent demands on the battery.
If radio has so much to offer people will purchase phones with the receive capability but I'm with Gary Shapiro over allowing the market to dictate in this case.
The NAB and musicFirst would probably have been politically at home in the former Soviet Union in principle (maybe the bribery systenm was different but money in US politics isn't so different) and certainly at home with spending other people's money to their own benefit. Certainly they don't have much belief in enterprise and the market if it doesn't benefit them nor any quibbles about pushing foreign governments to allow US ownershipin broadcasters whilst denying foreign ownership of US broadcasters - ir in NAB's case screamign about foreign ownership of recording companies when American owners have been so poor at running them (or greedy) that they sold out.
Shame on NAB - maybe someone there should buy a dictionary and find out what the word means.

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