FM radio may not be top of the shopping list when shopping for a new smartphone, but nevertheless it's a feature many want to have. Sprint is jumping into the FM radio space having today announced a preliminary agreement with the American radio industry. It will enable Sprint customers to listen to local FM radio content on a range of their new smartphones starting later this year.
All this is made possible by what Sprint refers to as NextRadio, which it also says will offer a range of interactive listener features not currently available -- although what those are remains a mystery. The announcement marks the first time a U.S. carrier will offer FM radio across a whole range of its devices. Demonstrations of NextRadio are taking place this week at CES in Las Vegas. The full press release can be found after the break.
Sprint customers to enjoy local FM radio on smartphones via FM radio chip
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 08, 2013 - Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced a preliminary arrangement with representatives of the American radio industry that will enable Sprint customers to listen to local FM radio stations from a broad spectrum of radio companies and aggregators on select Android and Windows smartphones during the next three years. FM radio could be delivered through the NextRadio tuner application or other radio apps or services.
This announcement marks the first time a U.S. wireless carrier would offer the ability to access local FM radio on a broad array of its devices. Consumers today can listen to radio on smartphones by streaming over the Internet. As part of this plan, Sprint customers could use their smartphones and the NextRadio tuner to listen to local FM radio stations.
With the NextRadio tuner – expected to be available later in 2013 – Sprint customers would enjoy a wide range of interactive listener features not available today and would have the availability of local FM radio at their fingertips to access all forms of broadcast information. Demonstrations of NextRadio will be offered at booth 9033 in the Central hall during CES.
Fared Adib, senior vice president, product development and operations at Sprint, stated, “We look forward to bringing Sprint customers another entertainment choice through NextRadio. This new, easy-to-use service adds another dimension to the versatility of our wide array of smartphones and will deliver a new avenue for thousands of local radio stations across the country to reach our customers.”
Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, said, “This opportunity combines the strengths of the Sprint network with the impact of America’s radio stations. It is the type of business-to-business partnership that recognizes the unique strengths of the wireless networks and the radio industry and provides services that are so important to the American people.”
Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel, noted, “This is a great development for the radio industry, one which will help us bring the content and services that only radio can provide to the wireless system. It's an important benefit for consumers across America, and we are pleased to participate in this effort.”
Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, who acted as principal negotiator for the radio industry, added, “Today is a remarkable day for our industry. I am gratified by the unity I have seen in our industry. It seems every broadcaster I know has supported this effort, and I am grateful to the tireless efforts of industry leaders, from the largest companies to the owners of the smallest stations … all of whom have helped us reach this agreement. While there is much work to be done, today is a critical first step.”