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NAB: Recent Storms Demonstrate Need for Phone Chips

Association President Gordon Smith says broadcasters filled communications void

National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith used the freak storm that hit the mid-Atlantic Last week as an example of why there should be radio chips in mobile devices.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Wednesday, Smith praised the chairman for scheduling a July 20 meeting with stakeholders about the issue, and said that the timing of the meeting could not have been better in light of the catastrophic" storms and massive power outages.

He said that reports that tens of thousands were without "critical" internet and phone service raised public safety questions, ones that were answered by local TV and radio stations filling ithat "communications void."

Smith put in a plug for broadcasting's "one-to-everyone" architecture and the need to make sure mobile phones are radio receivers as well.

Broadcasters rearlier made that pitch to Capitol Hill in a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on the future of audio.

At that hearing, Emmis chairman Jeff Smulyan pointed to broadcasters' emergency alert function as one of the big reasons radio receiver functionality should be included, and activated, in smartphones and other mobile devices. That "first informer" role is the same one TV broadcasters have used to argue for not pushing them off their spectrum in favor of wireless broadband.