Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mandatory radio for cell phones? Are you kidding?

I have loved radio since I can remember. It got me interested in music and sports as a kid and that never stopped, and inspired early career decisions to make a living working for radio stations and networks.

Over the past few years, I have observed helplessly as radio lost its competitive edge (primarily due to the drastic change in ownership restrictions), reduced its music playlists, started reporting sports rumors and speculations as if they were "news", and began to cluster more commercial time into a single break than they used to air during a full hour. During that same time, I have noticed how millions of others feel the same way, and thus the success of MP3 players, satellite radio (20 million subscriptons paying for a lot of content we used to get free), and online channels.

Just when you think the current radio industry can't make it worse, along comes this bit of news:

Are you kidding? The National Association of Broadcasters wants to make radio "mandatory" in cell phones?

First question. At who's expense?

Second question. How often can the police pull over a driver, bike rider, or even a power walker about listening on ear buds while on the road?

If it's up to me, we should all demand that the members of the NAB pay for the 20 million satellite radio subscriptions and the millions of "replacement" cell phones for everyone in America who currently owns one. That's the one way their proposal has any merit.

Whoever thought up this ploy should be sentenced to listen to his or her own station 24 hours a day for 10 years. It would save prison space, and probably have the same effect.

This story had better be a hoax.

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