New FCC Chairman Wants FM Radio Enabled on Smartphones, But Won’t Force It.

Chairman of FCC believes FM radio should be turned on.

There is a new Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Ajit Pai was appointed to run the FCC under the still new administration of President Donald Trump. Pai recently spoke to the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and addressed the issue of FM radio in smartphones.

Most modern smartphones have an FM radio chip already present within the hardware, however this chip is not always enabled. There has been much discussion about why this is not turned on, and how to get it turned on, and yet, nothing has really happened.

Ajit Pai is also for turning this chip on. During his discussion, he spoke about FM radio can be used in emergency situations when cell networks might not work. FM radio can in fact, be the only tool able to get information out to the public during some emergencies.

However, we shouldn’t expect the FCC to step in and require the chip being turned on during this administration. Pai stated that enforcing a rule of this nature would go against his belief in free markets, and he doesn’t believe the FCC’s jurisdiction extends to this issue. However, having the head of the FCC being the newest proponent of the cause may be enough to tip the scale.

FM Radio on the Z30



BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • anthogag

    I think carriers are the root cause of phones not enabling the FM radio. Carriers want users to use data.

    Once upon a time our phones were 3G and we had unlimited data. When we got 4G LTE devices our data plans immediately began to suck.

    I use FM radio with my Passport almost every day. Artists probably get paid more per play on radio than streaming apps.

    I also use free digital rabbit ears tv.

    And I visit libraries and read whatever I want from a real book.

  • Dave Matthews

    FM on handsets is awesome!