It’s Already Radio To Me

I’m not sure that a desperate attempt to hang on to the past could be called a “game changer.”



Here’s why this story about trying to put FM radio in cell phones seems so backwards, and such a waste of time.  Especially when Arbitron is going to measure smartphone and tablet use.

More and more average folks all the time are using their mobile device to access the bounty of the internet.  I’m one of them.  When I got my Droid a year and a half ago, a lot of my online time suddenly moved from my laptop to my phone.

Now, with that phone, I listen to the radio all the time.  I have audio entertainment coming at me via iHeartRadio,, and TuneIn Radio, as well as Pandora and Stitcher.  I have an unbelievable amount of good options to choose from.

My Droid also has an FM radio built into it.  It’s far and away the worst thing I’ve used on the phone.  It won’t let me use it without headphones, which are supposed to act as an antenna.  Reception is awful even with my ear buds plugged in, and I don’t live out in the sticks.  I’m 20 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  Plus … all the FM radio picks up are Cleveland stations!

That may sound goofy to you, but after a year and a half with my Droid, I expect geography to be no barrier to hearing what I want.  If I want to know something specific about Cleveland news or weather or events, I ain’t gonna sit and wait for a DJ to tell me.  I’m going to go online.  That’s not a slam towards some of the great people I know on the air here.  It’s just the reality of how I use media now.  I’m on the wave of the future.

It might be true that, in the event of a natural disaster, I would appreciate having an FM radio on my phone.  If, somehow, all satellite and cable communications are knocked out and I can’t get information any other way, I might depend on that FM chip.  However, media habits are made day to day, not in emergencies.  Day to day, I have good “real radio” choices to listen to pretty conveniently, and when the radio industry talks about putting FM chips in phones, it makes us sound like clueless grandpas from a previous century.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below, or on the Chris Miller Digital Facebook page.

PS — just after I finished writing this, Matt Haze pointed out to me that Spotify and Coca-Cola have entered into a strategic global partnership, and observed, “While local radio fights to get car dealers and attorneys, the big boys in the new media spectrum are forming unique partnerships to help each other grow.”  Click here to read Spotify and Coca-Cola Cut Huge Deal for Ads, App, and Spotify Expansion Worldwide.


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