After the release of Emmis' fiscal first quarter results, Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan and CFO/COO Patrick Walsh spoke on a conference call to discuss the report# Smulyan also gave an update on the status of FM radio chips in smartphones, a project he has helped spearhead#
Smulyan said early on in the call that "I could not be more excited about where we are with the cell phone project. I am not going to talk specifically about our agreement discussions with Sprint, but I do want to talk about the remarkable outcomes we've had from the American radio industry," according to Seeking Alpha.
He continued, "From the very largest broadcasters to the very smallest, support has been nearly unanimous. I think I had one broadcaster in the top 75 group that said I don’t want to support this and I personally talked to probably 60 to 65 of those groups. The support has been remarkable. It's been very gratifying. I think we are on the verge of a game changing event in this industry. I can’t announce specific times, but stay tuned, we will be able to announce industry support and then as we are done with our contractual arrangements, we will be able to announce when all this comes together, but the first step in that process is coming together, which we are -- now have clearly demonstrated that we've done."
"The second step is when we launch phones, if this industry could be united, and this industry can give a product which is compelling to consumers, to consumers then we think it will change our business forever and as you know, we've developed the next radio application at the behest of the National Association of Broadcasters. It's an open standard. It's free to every single broadcaster and we are providing free logos, so that the look when consumers see this new radio in the cell phone, it will be interactive and engaging and if we launch and consumers love it, we think it will lead to us openly getting in over 300 cell phones."
Later on, Smulyan called the project "sort of a passion" of his, according to Seeking Alpha, and added, "It became something that I believe in frequently knowing that in the rest of the world you buy a smartphone or a cell phone and as a radio that's turned on. I just got back from Europe yesterday and you see them everywhere."
Smulyan also recapped some of the issues surrounding the FM chips, including suggesting that consumers will be more interested in accessing FM frequencies on their phones as data usage and charges increase.
He continued, saying that the NextRadio software, created by Emmis, is "interactive, it's engaging and it is something that we think is a game changer. When load this into a phone, people can have an interactive experience. They can see AVImark, they can see the station's logo, there could be enhanced ads it’s an entire ecosystem that's built."
"I am proud that we built it. Hopefully we spent a tremendous amount of money. Hopefully it all this works, it will be nicely profitable for Emmis, but the most important thing is we think you can review the American radio industry and our goal was to build the system where every broadcaster could go in free and every broadcaster would have access equally into an ecosystem that we think can change our industry now have rambled a lot and want to cover a lot of ground."