The FCC Would Love For Everyone To Have FM Radio Access On Their Smartphones
Posted on February 17, 2017 12:06 PM by Rob Williams
You might not even realize it, but that smartphone in your hand probably contains an FM radio which would allow you to listen to local stations, and more importantly, receive important alerts in the event other communications services go down. Despite that, many smartphones do not actually include a way to listen to FM radio, either because it’s left inactive, or because no app is preinstalled that would let the user take advantage of it.
As it happens, the Federal Communications Commission thinks it’s important that users have access to their FM radios, although as it has no authority to force carriers and vendors to go one way or another, we’re at the mercy of these companies agreeing.
ASUS’ ZenFone 3 includes an FM radio
Ultimately, the FCC would like people to have the same kind of communications on their phone as they do their car. Picture a scenario where cellular towers go down, preventing people from getting in contact with each other, or even being able to better understand what’s happening. With FM radio, people could load up an app and listen to their local stations to help fill in the blanks. And as mentioned above, this functionality would also allow local governments to get important notices in people’s hands (literally) if disaster does strike.
If you’re curious about your phone having an FM radio built-in, a quick Google search might be able to help. Alternatively, you could download one of the many apps that would let you take advantage of it. In particular, I’d recommend NextRadio, as it will explicitly tell you as soon as the app is opened whether or not FM radio is enabled on your device.
One important thing to note: if you are able to take advantage of the FM radio in your phone, you’ll need to listen with your wired earbuds, as the wire will take on the role of antenna.