Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tough Competition Takes The Gloves Off. So Should Radio.

The wireless industry's trade group just posted videos on You Tube of their "reporter" across the street from the NAB offices in Washington, D.C., to purport that only 20% of people they asked said they want FM in their cell phone.

Actually, given that almost no one has promoted the fact that FM is available on cell phones to consumers, I thought 20% was a pretty good starting point compared to all the other "apps" smartphone consumers have to learn about and a reminder to us in radio that we can't assume that others don't have long term profit motives at our expense driving their position to exclude "radio" from wireless devices of all kinds, depriving our listeners of service they count and depend on.

Now, there's talk of closed door meetings at the FCC on the issue.

I'll leave the "public safety" argument to NAB and hope that they're telling our story as effectively as possible, but the current issue of United Airlines' inflight magazine features an article introducing "Shannon’s Law" as an additional point to ponder.
Claude Shannon was an MIT researcher who, in 1948, came up with an equation that explained how two factors limit the amount of information that can be accurately transmitted over any communication channel: the bandwidth available and the noise present that could disturb the signal. Using those two numbers, you can figure out the maximum amount of information that a particular link can handle.

I won’t bore you with the math. But the upshot is that we’re coming very, very close to reaching the bandwidth limits determined by Shannon’s Law. Soon, the typical cell tower simply won’t be able to handle any more data. Which means we’re going to need to come up with a solution if we want everyone to be able to watch the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” on their iPhone.

Tech writer Mark McClusky:  "Bandwidth, as it turns out, is subject to not just the laws of physics, but also the laws of supply and demand. Both point to one unpleasant realization: The true cost of wireless data access has been hidden from us for quite a while, and it’s time to pay the piper."

Of course, the wireless industry can't wait until we all have no other option in our mobile devices so that they can increase the cost of that bandwidth.

But, meanwhile, it's my humble opinion that it's in the consumers' best interest to have "free radio" as an option for information and entertainment that they don't have to pay for to make use of and enjoy.

If you agree, start working to move that "20%" number UP by letting listeners know that something they now take for granted, perhaps use unconsciously, needs to be on their future wireless devices and dashboards .. for their own good.

No comments: