Unlock The FM Radio Hiding In Your Smart Phone

Dec 8, 2014

Did you know that if you own a smart phone, you are also carrying an FM radio in your pocket?

Every smart phone manufactured today contains an FM chip, but unlike in Europe, most in the U.S. are not activated. Increasingly, the device that people use for connecting to the world is their smart phone. For that reason, NPR and APM are working with our friends in commercial radio and religious broadcasting to urge the major cell phone service providers to activate the FM chip that is already in all the mobile phones they sell.

And now, VPR is getting involved, by encouraging our listeners and supporters to take action on this important issue.

To date, only Sprint is on board, while the other major carriers – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – have refused, even though it would cost them nothing. We believe that for the sake of public safety and universal access to fact-based news and quality cultural programming, it is imperative for the major cell phone carriers and manufacturers to activate FM chips in the smart phones they sell. This will ensure that radio – including public radio – is available 24/7 to everyone with a smart phone.

Here are the benefits:

  • Free access to FM radio on your smart phone
  • Compared to broadband streaming, FM access reduces battery consumption by 66%
  • FM radio access does not count against your data plan and usage
  • When cell service is poor or unavailable, you can still get access to critical news, weather, and emergency information

Activating the FM chips in smart phones will increase basic access to all radio service. You can help make this happen. We ask you to speak out and urge carriers and device makers to activate FM chips today!

To make your voice heard, go to freeradioonmyphone.org to easily contact carriers and device makers about this important issue.

Suggested: "The Hidden FM Radio Inside Your Pocket, And Why You Can't Use It" - NPR, April 16, 2015