ICYMI – Ask Maggie is a regular column on CNET that answers readers’ wireless and broadband questions. A recent post in Maggie’s advice column informs readers and shares views on the advantages of having an FM chip-enabled smartphone
Throughout the piece, Marguerite Reardon (aka Ask Maggie) comments on the advantages of the devices. She underscores the positive impact and use of having FM radio available during times of disaster – natural or not.
Using some of the real-life examples of how radio aided in communication efforts in Puerto Rico, Reardon underscores radio’s value and informs readers on how to download the NextRadio app on any of the devices noted within the article.
Missing from the list are Apple devices. Apple claims that FM functionality wasn’t activated on their most current phones (as of the iPhone 7 launch), but this claim is questionable as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has “repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States.” In a formal announcement, Pai went on to say, “Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones. It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first. As the Sun Sentinel of South Florida put it, ‘Do the right thing, Mr. Cook. Flip the switch. Lives depend on it.’”
In addition to potentially saving lives, FM-enabled smartphones can also give advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers. During each of these storm events, advertisers in home improvement, insurance and various service organizations targeted those that were affected, but with the loss of electricity and cell coverage, radio was the only way to deliver those messages. FM-enabled smartphones can deliver the messages to consumers in need when other media options are unavailable.