In the opinion of this blogger, the frequently confused and seldom effective National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), thought by many to be singularly responsible for broadcast radio's tailspin into oblivion, has surfaced again as the delusional savior of the medium it has so effectively trashed over the last quarter century.
Fresh off of a series of what I see as catastrophes that include questionable policy initiatives like ownership consolidation followed by a spectacular lawsuit fail over satellite radio and pushing stellar technologies like AM Stereo, HD radio and Digital AM radio, the NAB is back with 'FM chips.'
Because animated cartoons from the 1930s often used the "I'm going down once, I'm going down twice, I'm going down the third time..." as a euphemism for a person drowning - I have to ask, is this the third time down for the NAB?
At first, FM chips were proposed as an important safety issue, as noted in what I saw as the highly suspect "NAB extols broadcasters’ critical role during emergencies."
In the latest act of what looks to me to be a farce, Jeff Smulyan, a person I feel is one of the biggest fail-boys in broadcasting, has put forth his highly questionable cell phone FM chip plan to limit access to this supposedly hot market to broadcasters who pony up ad revenue - pay to play.
Why does this look like payola to me?
My complaint with the whole matter of FM chips in cell phones is that I have yet to meet users who have any interest in ths technology at all. I am obviously significantly geeked out, yet the very poor performance of the FM chips in the MP3 players and smart phones I have tried left me singularly unimpressed. Worst of all, with the poor selectivity and sensitivity these chips (in addition to obvious antenna issues), this technology does nothing to increase the audience for low power radio.
Fortunately, our good friends at the other NAB have issued a press release that helps put this whole matter in perspective, please see "NAB extols essential emergency service"
In my opinion, it is so terribly sad to watch a once great medium continue to self destruct through an apparently never-ending series of painfully bad policy and product decisions.