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Hot Topics

Listen Up Apple! Radio’s Listeners’ Lives Matter!

November 3, 2017

You know when struggling newspapers come to bat for radio, the issue at hand must be crucial.

Radio Ink recently reported that “The Philadelphia Enquirer is the latest print publication to call on Apple to make it easier for consumers to listen to FM Radio by flipping on the FM Chip and allowing NextRadio to pop up on iPhones, available for use without consuming data.”

WAIT? WHAT? Did they just say there is a way to listen to our favorite FM Radio stations without burning up the life of our batteries and our already financially depleted pockets? As an Apple iPhone Kool Aid drinker (grape please), it never occurred to me that this is even an option that Apple is choosing to not provide.

Why on earth would they ever not do this? Well, Radio Ink also reported “According to an article in Bloomberg, critics say it’s because Apple doesn’t want to cannibalize its streaming service by giving iPhone owners access to free radio. When listening to audio through an app and not the FM Chip, consumers have to pay for the data they use. If they were listening through an FM Chip already installed on the phone there would be no charge for data.” Hmmm… I see.


Well how does it work anyway? What say you Philadelphia Inquirer? “Presented as a ‘best of both worlds’ for radio on a phone, NextRadio merges FM reception with visual enhancements, from artist info to advertising. The onboard tuner consumes just one-third the power of a normal phone streaming radio and uses zero data minutes. In a test this week on a charged Samsung Galaxy Note 8, NextRadio delivered for 28 hours before the battery crashed.” Did they say 28 HOURS?!? Humph… The worst is my phone dying in the midst of one of my jams. ♪♪I dug my key in to the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive…♪♪ (I’m still working through that.)

Let’s be clear, “As a medium, radio is well established as having the greatest reach across the U.S. It’s also clear that despite the increasing influence of digital media, traditional radio continues to attract young listeners who grew up fully connected with digital media…. Radio reaches a significant portion of both black and Hispanic consumers, at 93% and 98%, respectively. The reach among Hispanics is particularly high, as it far exceeds the overall national average of 93%.” – Nielsen, State Of The Media: Audio Today 2017, A Focus on Black & Hispanic Audiences


Source: Nielsen Comparable Metrics Report, Q4 2016


Sources: RADAR 117 (June 2013), RADAR 121 (June 2014), RADAR 125 (June 2015), RADAR 129 (June 2016), RADAR 133 (June 2017), Radio Usage Mon-Sun 12Mid-12Mid

With the recent tragic events taking place across our country, whether human or weather-related, people need a reliable source for their news. It’s crucial that we are equipped with dependable ways to access important information that can range from how can we help those in need, how can we hold our officials accountable, where can we obtain clean water, how can we get help for my displaced family, to how can we keep our family safe.

Sure, Radio is here to entertain. But, let’s be clear that Radio is also here to inform, educate, and LEAD. The statistics further prove why FREE Radio continues to be strong. And, what remains true is the power Radio can have when present and engaged in what is occurring in and around our communities.

Listeners continue to turn to radio for news, information, and entertainment — despite an ever-increasing selection of media options. Radio continues to be the #1 mass medium delivering audio content to passionate and loyal listeners. Whether at home, in the car, at work, and especially at a crucial point of purchase time, radio can’t be beat for capturing listeners who continue to rely on their favorite stations and DJs. And, now you have proof.

We may not be able to control what Apple does, but we sure can control how we get the word out regarding our strengths as a medium overall and of our local presence to engage and inform. Now, run tell that and go make some money.

-Kathryn C. Boxill, Radio Sales Research Manager


Radio Ink, “Another Newspaper Touts FM Chip,” 10/16/17

Radio Ink, “Why Is Apple Denying Consumers The FM Chip?,” 9/28/17