Major Canadian telecommunication and mobile companies have blocked access to the FM receiver chip installed in most android smart phones. A new campaign has recently launched to rally public support behind convincing companies to unlock this feature, which would allow consumers to listen to FM radio over their phone for free.
The National Campus and Community Radio Association, a collective of 95 non-profit stations across the country, have teamed up to launch freeradioonmyphone.ca.
"Our goal is to put pressure on the four national and four regional telecom carriers to get them to unlock the FM chip for public use," said Barry Rooke, executive director of the NCRA. "There was a successful campaign in the United States in 2015, with four of the five major telecoms bowing down to public pressure. Our goal is to have all eight Canadian wireless providers allow access to the FM chip by the end of 2016."
Some of the highlights to why the FM chip needs to be turned on include:
- Saves 3x the battery life of your phone - compared to streaming services
- Saves 20x the data use on your phone - compared to streaming services
- Allows for emergency broadcasting and public safety alerts as mandated in the NPAS system
- Allows individuals with hearing and other disabilities to access technology to aid in communication
"FM technology is still the most popular format of our stations and the sector as a whole," Rooke said. "This opportunity offers a great way to expand our listenership, and the options available to the public to access content. We are looking to expand our industry partners to work on enabling these chips. Specifically we are contacting individuals, groups and organizations who will join the growing list of supporters located on the www.FreeRadioOnMyPhone.ca website and help us get the word out through social media, public service announcements, and other forms of promotion that encourage the public to get involved".