Expanding on the NAB’s Mobile FM Proposal

Dave Zatz —  August 23, 2010 — 11 Comments

Bang out Morse code distress messages from your Sprint EVO MC.

There’s been quite a dust up regarding the National Association of Broadcasters’ proposed federal legislation which would require a FM tuner in each and every mobile phone. Despite your perceived music royalty focus of the “Performance Act,” which some have called the last gasp of a dying industry, the NAB’s primary and patriotic concern is actually national security – contributing to the safety of all US citizens:

From a public safety perspective, it is critically important to have broadcast radio’s unparalleled lifeline service available instantaneously in times of emergency.

We, too, here at ZNF are security-focused patriots. And don’t believe the proposed legislation goes far enough in covering all possible manner of calamity. So we’ve mocked up a few other mobile enhancements using what you might have (incorrectly) assumed were antiquated technologies.

Tune into NOAA weather alerts with the iPhone 6 Shortwave.

Playback low fidelity ransom messages on the Retrograde Galaxy S.

11 responses to Expanding on the NAB’s Mobile FM Proposal

  1. Of course, this post is tongue in cheek. Having lived through the chaos of 9/11, I can get behind the NAB’s premise even if their bundling and motivations are suspect. Lastly, thanks to my friends at SlashGear – which is where I swiped the untouched EVO pic.

  2. Kudos on the post. It’s quite tasty. Double-kudos if you did the photoshop work yourself. (But still kudos even if you didn’t.)

    —–

    “I can get behind the NAB’s premise even if their bundling and motivations are suspect.”

    Agreed. Correctly phrased.

    And isn’t this something similar to what got free broadcast TV on mobile phones in other advanced countries?

    Not everything needs to be an individual-cast stream…

  3. Yeah, I did the Photoshopping myself. But this is about the extent of my skills. Which is why I was so tempted to swipe a iPod Cassette photo from Flickr.

  4. Isn’t the root of this post really the rampant corruption of government via lobbyists and because we don’t have campaign finance reform?

    This chart shows way radios have been mandated into phones:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?cycle=2010&strID=C00009985

  5. “Isn’t the root of this post really the rampant corruption of government via lobbyists and because we don’t have campaign finance reform?”

    If you have a petition for meaningful campaign reform legislation, I’d be happy to add my signature.

    But even in a world with cleaner government, the FCC’s job would still be all about mediating between the various “stakeholders” while keeping the public’s interest at the forefront.

    I lean toward being a supporter of this because I think it’s officially A Good Thing™ to get broadcasting receivers mandated into mobile. Not only is the current idea of emergency services completely valid, but it also provides an entering wedge for someday mandating other broadcasting services.

  6. @Chucky

    All phones already have SMS, there is zero reason to add a radio under the b*llshit guise of “public safety” – just send a text message if there is some emergency.

    Be sure to let me know when you see “Mandatory newspaper subscription – $12.05″ when you get the bill from your Internet service provider…

    …and “Requisite horse shoe fee $7.99″ included with your next gasoline pump purchase!
    :P

  7. “All phones already have SMS, there is zero reason to add a radio under the b*llshit guise of “public safety” – just send a text message if there is some emergency.”

    See, but that’s not true. SMS gets transmitted via the same network that broke down on 9/11. Broadcast doesn’t get overwhelmed by traffic since it’s, well, broadcast.

    If you have a citywide situation, broadcast is the answer. The emergency services rationale is perfectly legitimate, taken on it’s own merits. But as stated, that’s not the only reason I like this.

    “Be sure to let me know when you see “Mandatory newspaper subscription – $12.05″ when you get the bill from your Internet service provider…”

    The FCC’s job is about reasonable balance on a case by case basis.

    I wouldn’t support the particular mandate that you posit, but yet I still lean towards something like the FM mobile mandate.

  8. Chucky- the broadcast issue is where I get hung up too. You need a one-way system for emergencies so that it can’t get bogged down with consumer traffic. Unless there’s something I’m missing in how emergency services could otherwise use SMS.

    Dave- you’re such a photoshop junkie. :)

  9. Don’t you people get it? If you’re that concerned about emergency comm, then buy an FM radio or get a HAM license. Please do not encourage the government to force another mandate down our throats. The phone manufacturers would add a toilet to their phones if a market willing to pay for it existed. All this mandate would do is make _ALL_ of ours phones bigger and more expensive, and probably less effective as a phone.

  10. Aren’t we a couple decades beyond “Video killed the radio star…”?

  11. This proposed legislation is absurd and I hope it isn’t even considered by Congress. At any rate, I really don’t think it’s going to be successful. People are listening to radio less and less, so I don’t think most people would want to be forced to have to pay for and carry around something that gives them access to something they don’t really need or want.

    As for the “public safety” argument, I think it’s a bunch of crap. For the people that do believe that carrying around an FM radio is going to keep them informed and safer in the event of an emergency, that’s completely OK, but it’s entirely your choice to carry one around.

    There are even a number of phones out there that have an FM radio right now for people who want one, so why do all phones need one?

    If the commercial broadcast radio industry is dying, why can’t we just let it die?

    “Not only is the current idea of emergency services completely valid, but it also provides an entering wedge for someday mandating other broadcasting services.”

    I still don’t get how mandating any broadcasting services would be a good thing.

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