At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sprint announced Tuesday that it has reached a preliminary agreement to activate FM radio chips on selected Android and Windows smartphones. The rollout is slated to take place over the next three years. FM radio could be delivered through the NextRadio tuner application or other radio apps or services.
This announcement marks the first time a U.S. wireless carrier will offer the ability to access local FM radio on its devices. With the NextRadio tuner – expected to be available later in 2013 – Sprint customers would access a wide range of interactive listener features not available today, with local FM radio stations available to them as well.
Fared Adib, SVP of Product Development and Operations at Sprint, stated, "We look forward to bringing Sprint customers another entertainment choice through NextRadio. This new, easy-to-use service adds another dimension to the versatility of our wide array of smartphones and will deliver a new avenue for thousands of local radio stations across the country to reach our customers."
NAB President Gordon Smith said, "This opportunity combines the strengths of the Sprint network with the impact of America’s radio stations. It is the type of business-to-business partnership that recognizes the unique strengths of the wireless networks and the radio industry and provides services that are so important to the American people."
Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel, noted, "This is a great development for the radio industry, one which will help us bring the content and services that only radio can provide to the wireless system. It's an important benefit for consumers across America, and we are pleased to participate in this effort."
Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, who acted as principal negotiator for the radio industry, added, "Today is a remarkable day for our industry. I am gratified by the unity I have seen in our industry. It seems every broadcaster I know has supported this effort, and I am grateful to the tireless efforts of industry leaders, from the largest companies to the owners of the smallest stations … all of whom have helped us reach this agreement. While there is much work to be done, today is a critical first step."