Radio Industry Politicizes Tragedy to Attack Apple

Did you know your cell phone has the ability to play FM radio? It more likely than not does and you more likely than not have no idea and, even if you do, don’t use it. But the radio industry, of which I am a part, fears a decline in listenership with competition from satellite and internet based radio. So they are using the latest wave of hurricanes to demand Apple activate the FM chip in iPhones.

They are targeting Apple because it sells the most popular phone. A majority of cell phones do not activate the FM chip. Apple is the biggest target. I have no idea why Apple won’t do it, but it is their choice.

The National Association of Broadcasters would have us believe that people could listen to the radio on their phones in disaster areas. Never mind that there is no power and the cell phones would die. A radio that can accept store bought batteries is always a wise choice in an area that experiences big storms. Suggesting a cell phone with an active FM chip is comparable is nonsense.

But this is another example of an industry in trouble trying to use government to go after those who threaten its survival. It is crony capitalism at its worst and none of us should fall for it. I would love it if Apple made it easier to access radio programs through Apple Music. It is very selective and mostly only allows NPR. But my listeners can subscribe to my podcast if they want my show. I get plenty of listeners that way.

I don’t need the government to force Apple to start using something it has decided not to use. And you should not need that either.

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Erick Erickson

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