Activating FM Chips in Smartphones Can Help to Save Lives

By Colleen |

Public radio could make your community even safer if the FM chip in your phone is activated by your mobile carrier. Did you know your smart phone has the capacity to transmit an FM radio signal without downloading an app or buying new equipment?  Please visit today to learn more.

It’s National Preparedness Month and this is a perfect time for all Americans to take steps to be prepared for emergencies. We’ve seen tornados, floods, fires and earthquakes devastate our communities, towns and cities. Emergency responders are important in these times of need, but their efforts are weakened if they can’t send lifesaving information to the communities they serve.

Today, public radio plays a vital role in relaying this critical, up-to-the minute safety information to communities. Natural disasters and security threats over the past decade have showed just how valuable public radio is. Reaching more than 98% of the U.S. population, public radio stations across the country are a trusted resource for sharing emergency alerts to ensure you are prepared and can find the resources you need before and after a crisis.

What Is the FM Radio Chip?

Today, more than 90% of Americans own cellphones, 60% of which are smartphones. More and more, you’re listening to public radio by streaming your local station on your mobile device, but if you’re streaming your station, that counts against your data plan. We think you should be able to listen to your local FM station for free.

If technology that already exists on your mobile phone is enabled, you won’t need to listen to public radio through an app that requires a data plan. You could listen to the radio the same way you listen to your FM radio in your car or at home. And, you would save your mobile phone’s bandwidth and battery life.

All smartphones sold today already have the technology that make this possible, an FM chip.

How Will the FM Chip Prepare Me for Emergencies?

If all Americans had a mobile phone with an activated FM chip during times of crisis, communities would be able to tune into their local FM radio stations for updates on the emergency situation.

Today, without activated FM chips in phones, during a storm or power outage, cellular networks are often unreliable when flooded with a surge of users overloading the system, or the electrical grid is knocked out—leaving millions without access to information via cellular network.  We saw this happen in the case of Hurricane Sandy, Boston Marathon bombings and the tornados that struck Moore, Oklahoma in 2013. These are but a few of many examples. We want all communities to have access to the emergency information they need.

How Do I Get My FM Radio Chip Activated?

Most smartphones already have an FM radio chip but the function isn’t activated.

If consumers put enough pressure on their mobile-service providers, by requesting an activated FM chip, they could be activated at no cost to mobile companies. Change is possible. Mobile companies don’t understand how much this would benefit our audiences.

How Can I Get Involved?

As faithful public radio listeners, we need you to contact your mobile carriers to encourage the installation and activation of FM chips in smartphones. Your voice will help to bring an additional lifeline to communities nationwide in the face of disaster. We hope that you will help us make this initiative a reality to our listeners and continue to support Protect My Public Media. Please visit today to contact your mobile service provider.

Together, we can work to make sure that mobile companies install and activate FM chips and help to keep our communities safe.