RIAA Wants Radios in Portable Electronics

The RIAA is proposing that Congress force handheld electronics makers to include FM radio recievers in their products as part of a plan to give consumers more choices when listening to music. The proposal, according to Ars Technica, would require all cell phones sold in the U.S., including the iPhone, include a built-in FM radio regardless of whether or not manufacturers or consumers were interested in having them in their portable electronic devices.

While record labels, radio broadcasters and the National Association of Broadcasters are on board with the idea, the Consumer Electronics Association thinks the proposal is a bad idea and said that it isn’t “in our national interest.”

musicFIRST, which includes the RIAA as a member, sees the forced inclusion of FM receiver chips in electronic devices as an important move for the broadcast radio industry. “musicFIRST, too, likes FM chips in cell phones, PDAs, etc. It gives consumers access to more music choices,” the group said.

Dennis Wharton from the NAB added “We would argue that having radio capability on cell phones and other mobile devices would be a great thing, particularly from a public safety perspective.”

Gary Shapiro, CEA president, sees mandated radio receivers differently. “The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” he said.