FM Radio

Tonight's poll comes thanks to our lovable forums Admin Cory Streater, who brought up a great question on episode 93 of the Android Central podcast -- I wonder how many people really use the FM radio? None of us were any help (we can't ever agree on anything) but you guys sure can be. 

I get why people use it. It's subscription free, doesn't use data, and has a bigger selection of music that you could ever hope to have in your personal cloud or on the phone itself. Maybe the best reason I've ever heard is that it's great for listening to the news while on the treadmill at the gym. The other side of the coin -- wired headphones suck, radio stations suck, commercial music sucks, etc. People have just as many reasons why they don't use it as those who do use it.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't use it, but I do see the appeal. And not everything on the radio sucks. But asking you guys is a much better idea, so tell us all in the poll, and fire away in the comments to let us know why you voted the way you did.


There are 74 comments

jer3my says:

Why bother with the crappy stations on the radio when you can make custom radio stations with Iheartradio/pandora/slacker and etc. Guess I am bias since Chicago no longer has any good rock stations, besides the classic stuff. =p

TBolt2011 says:

And The Drive has its own app anyways! Haha

bold1193 says:

Where can i get this, samsung galaxy nexus? Thanks

I would like to have the option to listen to the tv at the gym. All of the tv audio is broadcast on various fm radio frequencies. Without the fm features I cannot listen to any of them.

perkdog65 says:

I do the same at my gym. They have like 20 TVs in front of the cardio equipment and the audio is transmitted over FM channels so you can pick the audio for the TV you want to watch and work out.

The only time I listen to the radio on my phone is when I am bored. When that happens I use IheartRadio app


No. For the times I want to listen to local radio, I have Tune In Premium.

icebike says:

Why would your burn data listening to a lower quality feed of your local FM station than you can get with an FM receiver in your phone?

The only excuse I can think of is your phone doesn't have an FM receiver.

There is no media that uses less power than an FM Receiver. You can listen for days on a single charge. If you take mass transit, there are lots of places where you get hit or miss bandwidth for streaming, but the FM works just fine.

I use it fairly often.

sebianoti says:

I do the same, i also have unlimited internet, really truly unlimited.

Chex313 says:

@icebike Lower quality? I find FM static filled as heck. If your driving down the road(and thats the only time I would listen anyway) you constantly lose stations, but tunein radio never does. Well OK in a 400 mile trip a couple of blank spots... and since your in your car its on charge, so battery is no issue.

If your in one city fine... but for anyone who drives distance everyday there is no comparison.

dmonzel says:

Came here to say this. Between wifi and unlimited data, I can listen to every station I usually catch when I'm in the car.

Murph5150 says:

I prefer AM radio. Listen to Rush almost every day on Tune In.

I know... Rush is friggin hilarious. Its almost like he is for real. LOL!

Jayshmay says:

For radio I either use Stitcher, or TuneIn Radio.

lindycu says:

I use it at the gym where they use FM modulation so you can listen to the TV channels for any of the 30+ TV's

briankurtz79 says:

I used to use it on my evo every day. Now I can't with my gs2 which really sucks. I could listen all day on one charge but now I go through three batteries a day listening to iheartradio.

lionsson says:

I like to have it in case of a tornado.

PeninaD says:

EXACTLY! Digital and celluler towers can go down, internet can go down, but often somewhere there will still be an FM station broadcasting.

davidwal83 says:

I have it on my nokia backup phone I just got. It does not work that good. I wish my phone had it. I would like a fm transmitter like some of the old LGs had. So when I drive my Dad's work truck I am not stuck listening to the radio.

kjhg says:

I use it extensively at a total of 40 hours a week (8 a day for 5 days) which is work hours. One nice feature is that I get double battery life compared to mp3's, since the phone can play the radio and be in deep sleep as long as the station id feature is turned off. Compare that to mp3s which would hold a 8 hour wakelock causes massive battery savings.

DSLAM says:

It was the deciding factor in me choosing the htc Amaze over the Samsung Galaxy SII on T-mobile. I had to have FM radio and I dont want to use my data, plus even when I dont have a data or cell connection, I can still listen to news etc.

jfs101 says:

I have the international ver. of the Galaxy S 2, it has FM radio... Wonder why they have to make so many damn models. One good thing about the iphone is that it's basically the same phone on all the carriers.

Unobtanium says:

When I was looking at Verizon's ILOs (Initial LTE Offerings), the FM radio was one of the things that moved me to the Thunderbolt. It has been incredibly useful on my morning walks, as well as traveling. Even though I got in on the Unlimited Data plan, it saves using MB and reduces the likelihood of getting throttled. Then only disadvantage is that it requires headphones or an external speaker because the wires are also the antenna. For times I want to listen without wires, I use tune-in.

kjhg says:

I use a cut off headphone wire for the antenna then tell it to use the speakers. Have you tried hitting the menu button in the FM Radio app and checking the settings?

dominiej says:

lol wuts an eff-emm radeeo?

It uses less Gee Bees

False_Aesop says:

I use it, sometimes I've listened to all my subscribed podcasts and my dog still expects to be taken for a walk. So I tune into my local NPR station while out for a stroll. I don't really listen to music, ever really.

mdibbets says:

Its a thing that is present on 25 eurocent FM receivers. Is a nice feature to have in a phone.
But not Mandy people will miss it.

d3Xt3r says:

Yes; not every day, but I do listen to the FM regularly. Thankfully here in NZ we have a great selection of stations - classical, hip-hop, trance, rock, pop, country, talk etc. I also happen to have a data plan though, and admittedly I prefer international stations most of the time. But still, it's great to tune in to the FM, particularly while driving, for the traffic updates and instant news bulletins. It's always good to know what's happening around you (I can't be bothered watching the TV or reading the newspaper, so the FM radio is my major source of keeping an eye (ear?) on local news).

As for a buying a phone with FM or not, it's not really a deal-breaker for me, but if there were two similar models - one with FM and one without, and the FM model being slightly higher priced, I would gladly pay the extra amount.

I hope phone manufacturers are reading this. Smartphones are supposed to be doing more things as time progresses instead of less. Stop stealing our FM radio, SD cards slots and removable batteries dammit!

edward0348 says:

I do. I have an EVO 3D, and it has FM radio app pre-installed. It is pretty useful for me, because I live in NY and there are so many radio stations you could listen to.

UncleMike says:

Yes, but it's usually limited to when I'm mowing the lawn. There's one talk radio station I really like, but for me music is just background; I don't need to be any more specific than choosing a radio station to get something satisfactory - I'm not concerned with the specific artist or song. But generally, when I want to listen to the radio, there's a traditional radio nearby, and I use that.

Gearu says:

Local radio sucks unless I want to have a classical session. Otherwise it's internet radio, it's too bad some some INTERNET radio stations are ****s and geographically block people, it defeats the purpose of having an online stream.

I mainly use it for listening to NASCAR when dragged to baseball games on Saturday or Sunday. Even with the free wi-fi, I get a much better FM signal.

My phone doesnt have it but it would be nice to have strictly for the purpose of listening to my local MLB team's games. The broadcasts are pulled from every internet radio station I've tried, even TuneIn. I would love to be able to listen w/o paying for the MLB app.

gordol says:

I've had my Droid X for about 16 months. It was two months before I even realized there was an FM receiver in it, and then I promptly forgot about it.

webslappy says:

I wish mine had FM radio. Our professional sports teams are broadcast on FM and I could listen to the games while at work. I have an old failing walkman at work to listen to games because I don't want to pay each league ~$15/season for the right to listen to audio broadcasts.

lightyear420 says:

why use fm radio when tune in has almost every station anyway?

jroc says:

See my post at the bottom about Tune In. Local FM stations in my area...its not so great.

tronthedon says:

It really doesn't. CBS (for example) owns a lot of stations and refuses to license them to TuneIn's developers.

jroc says:

Didnt know that....that explains alot.

I do like that I can get my local jazz station again with Tune In. It got taken of the local air waves a few years ago and is on HD only now.

scaots says:

EVO 4G and GNote don't have great reception so it's not worth it. I would definitely use it if the reception was acceptable. I use TuneIn radio.

Garemlin says:

While I don't listen to FM radio for music we do use the FM radio app on my DX to listen to MRN broadcasts at NASCAR races. So mush easier than bringing headset radios or a scanner. And my DX has been out of service for many months now but we can still use the FM Radio.

katnapper says:

My T-bolt requires a headphone to be plugged in as an antenna and I use stereo bluetooth headphones. Defeats the purpose. Guess if it had its own FM antenna I might use it. Still doubt that I would with grandfathered unlimited data and endless steaming, cloud and music on SD options.

Shadowriver says:

FM radio will be dead soon anyway, gonna be replaced with DAB or other digital standard, same as today happens to TV.

But main problem with FM radio for me is need of headphones to make it work.

8balls1970 says:

For FM Radio, I use the Ipod touch 4 64GB player to conserve battery life on my Dinc 2. Working at the hospital there is a lot of interference using 3G/4G service.

icu says:

I don't have it, but I suppose of I did the only reason I'd have for using it is Public Radio. However, there's an app for that and I've got "unlimited" data.

ah yes and I use wireless headphones so that's right out

drrazvi says:

I use the FM tuner @ my local gym (lifetime fitness) where they play the audio from the TV sets on different FM frequencies.

I normally use Moto S9s so having to go wired to use the FM is a drag, but it is a great feature.

walterwood44 says:

The phones I have had with an FM radio all required earphones be connected so the cord could be used as an antenna. I generally use a bluetooth headset. I would probably listen to the radio more if I did not have to have a wired headset to use it.

I have an FM radio, on y Evo 3D but hardly ever use it. But, I think I would be really bugged if it wasn't there. Kind of like the NexusOne debacle. You had a phone with a chip that was totally capable of receiving FM transmissions, yet there was no app on the phone to take advantage of it. I like my phones to have every possible feature... Even if I currently don't use it. Never know if I may need it tomorrow.

stacyadell says:

If you are a Sports fan then you need the FM tunersince local sports broadcasts are blocked out on Tune in radio pro and others. Paying for the MLB, NHL, NBA, & NFL aps would be a waste of money....

jroc says:

YESSS!!! lol

I miss my FM Radio that was on my Droid X1. That was a pro for the Bionic that I forgot about when I picked the RAZR. I am thinking hard about getting a Bionic...

The talk shows in my area, the morning shows in my area. NO radio app can get every station I want. And the closest.... Tune In...the website works better than the app. But it still doesnt get all my local stations.

Not to mention I would have to use my data connection. If I could I woulda voted for option 1 and 4. Cuz I do miss it. Alot. I miss FM Radio alot more than a removable battery.

das8nt says:

If I could pull in TK101 you're showing in the picture, then I would love to have a FM receiver to save on battery. It's the best rock station in our area, but it's almost out of reach for me on a phone's FM capabilities. =/

Haven't had one in a phone for some time, but it's a plus for me.

heavyt says:

Would love to have HD radio not the old FM radio. HD Radio Technology converts the traditional analog radio broadcast to digital and provides advanced audio and data features that enhance your listening experience!

sitruc#AC says:

I occasionally carry a Zune around just for the HD radio. When it was part of the Zune I thought it was gaining penetration. Most of the stations in my area have good signals with their HD stations now and they are now pretty much synced (no significant gap between HD and non-HD). My 2012 model car has it, but I hate getting out and downgrading to regular FM and the often forgotten AM (which I often miss more than FM). As others have said, FM is a big deal for sports fans and it's convenient when not wanting to use data and drain the battery.

Am I in the minority here when I say I was hoping that Smart phones would have the ability to receive dtv (digital Television) transmissions at this point in time? These phones have awesome screens now. How cool would it be if I could tune into some local Hd channels while on the go?

garfnodie says:

I never used the FM Tuner on my Nexus One, even though it was there and working. And my current phone, has the hardware, but there is no software to use it, not even when rooted, and none of the FM tuner apps on XDA will work with my phone, believe me, I've looked and tried.

My father on the other hand, does use the FM tuner in is OG Evo 4G when he's mowing the lawn. He's going to be getting the same phone i have soon, an Epic 4G Touch, and is really wanting the FM tuner. He likes how FM sips power, all the streaming apps suck too much juice after 2+ hours of mowing and weed eating.

Just tell him to hold on to his Evo for a couple more months. The new Evo will have an FM tuner

garfnodie says:

He's already committed to the E4GT. Him and his wife are getting them actually. Already got two spare batteries and a few different cases. Since the phone has been out a while now, he can get the phone pretty cheap, add in the money Sprint will buy back the Evo 4G for, he's pretty dead set on the E4GT. I'm always on the lookout for a working FM tuner app for him, but I think he's already accepted that he's either going to have to get a new set of FM tuner headphone(old ones died, that's why he uses his phones FM tuner), or that he's going to have to stream radio using iHeart of something.

IceDree says:

No I don't use in my phone, last time I used in my phone was way back in 2002 when I got my new Nokia N-Gage
even though I'd one in all my phones, I never used it, not sure if my ATRIX have it though, but my Nokia E75 have one

I listen to FM in my car in Jeddah though

bdmridgback says:

I would use it if It had an antenna built into the phone. I never use headphones so it is useless.

PeninaD says:

I miss having it....during disasters, sometimes the FM stations are the only things left broadcasting, so it's a nice plus to have a real, old fashioned FM antenna built into the one device that you would probably have on you at almost all times.

Xopher says:

How many phones actually have an FM radio built in?

Just curious.

I'll listen to FM radio on my Zune now and then, but mostly listen to Sirius instead, which I can get in my car, on my motorcycle, and at home (same portable unit). Also have it on my SGS as well.

McPlot says:

I have an Evo 3d and until this article I forgot I had an FM radio.

ekt8750 says:

I use it esp when I'm at the gym. My baseball team is on FM this season and it is saving me from buying the MLB at-bat app.

Jon no h says:

My truck doesn't have a radio, so I use it a lot when driving.

HeadAcheJoe says:

Half the buttons on my truck's radio are out, but the line in works. So, I use it a lot.

esiemens says:

I listen to talk radio, on the AM dial, never listen to FM stations. However, the radio stations I do listen to (AM radio, internet radio) are available on their own apps and through shoutcast, so use that if I have no reception or radio nearby

My gs2 doesn't have one but I almost always have my galaxy player with me and it does so yeah I enjoy having FM available.

augievarela says:

When the power was lost in the fall in 2011 in southern Ca. The only way we were able to get up dates was with the FM raido.
We were able to use my Android to hear AM 600 that was the only station that had back up power.

Astrodroid says:

I never use mine because of the stupid headphone/antenna requirement. I don't want to wear headphones or keep up with them. But TuneIn Radio solves all that. You can not only listen to any local station, you can listen to stations from all over the world. I'll sometimes listen to a station I liked when I lived in another city. Pandora is great but sometimes you want/need the actual radio programming from where you are or from some other specific place.

AustinTechie says:

My Gym rocks FM transmitters for all of the TVs they have in the workout room. FM is a must.

jean15paul says:

There are times I try to use it but the reception is horrible so I switch to Tune In. I'd use it if it worked.

lgwhitlock says:

Talking of commercial radio I agree there is little interesting. However when you go to the lower end of the dial you can find lots of community and public stations that often have very interesting programming. And it can be quite nice for a long commute.

hmmm says:

I had one on my EVO Shift and I no longer have one on my Nexus S. I miss it. I like the local news, traffic and baseball games. I will not buy another phone without it. Just another area my Nexus S 4G is lacking compared to my EVO Shift, yet was the same price.