Home / News / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Wants To Activate Smartphone FM Radio Receivers For All Consumers

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Wants To Activate Smartphone FM Radio Receivers For All Consumers

FM radio — is that still a thing these days? We’re mostly kidding, but many of us don’t have (or care to have) FM radio functionality on our smartphones these days. Not when we have services like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and Tidal to satisfy our music needs. However, did you know that your smartphone probably has support for FM broadcast built-in, but it just isn’t enabled by the manufacturer?

Well, newly installed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai wants to change that. Pai took over the position from Tom Wheeler once President Donald Trump came into office, and he wants smartphone OEMs to enable FM radio functionality on smartphones to aid in emergency situations (among other things). When you think about, Pai may actually have a point here.

Ajit Pai

The FM support is already baked into hardware that powers our smartphones, so enabling it is only issue of tweaking the firmware and adding software app support. In the case of natural disasters or other emergency situations that may strike at a moment’s notice, we can’t always rely on cellular coverage to give us access to news or emergency warnings.

“When disaster strikes, often knocking out cell networks and Internet service, over-the-air radio is a lifeline, providing the latest weather forecasts or directions on where to seek shelter or relief assistance, said Pai. “After hurricanes or tornadoes or fires or floods, time and again, we see an exponential surge in radio audiences.”

Pai goes on to state that by activating FM radio on smartphones, users would be able to listen to their favorite local over-the-air station while using one-sixth the battery life of streaming solutions (all while consuming far less data).

Although Pai wishes that all smartphone OEMs would activate FM radio for customers, he says that he believes in “free markets and the rule of law”. As such, while Pai touts the benefits of such a move, he will not mandate that OEMs comply with his wishes. “I don’t believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace,” added Pai. “For despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”

So, what do you think, HotHardware readers? Does your smartphone have FM radio enabled and if so, do you use it? For those that don’t have FM radio, would you welcome the feature?

loadDisqus(jQuery(‘#initdisqus’), disqus_identifier, url);

else {
setTimeout(function () { disqusDefer(); }, 50);


function loadDisqus(source, identifier, url) {

if (jQuery(“#disqus_thread”).length) {


if (window.DISQUS) {

reload: true,
config: function () {
this.page.identifier = identifier;
this.page.url = url;

} else {

//insert a wrapper in HTML after the relevant “show comments” link

disqus_identifier = identifier; //set the identifier argument
disqus_url = url; //set the permalink argument

//append the Disqus embed script to HTML
var dsq = document.createElement(‘script’); dsq.type = ‘text/javascript’; dsq.async = true;
dsq.src = ‘http://’ + disqus_shortname + ‘.disqus.com/embed.js’;



function disqusEvent()
idleTime = 0;


Check Also

Planetary Field Researcher Finds 3 Space Rocks From Michigan Meteor

A possible meteor is reported across New England Dozens of space rock hunters flocked to …

Buy Xiaomi Redmi 5A 4G Smartphone For Just $89.99 On GearBest

After hitting the store shelves in December last year, Xiaomi Redmi 5A propelled straight to …

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid To Fly By Close To Earth Next Month

What to know about the mysterious 3200 Phaethon A massive asteroid NASA labeled as "potentially hazardous" is set to fly by Earth on Feb. 4. What can happen if a space rock as big as AJ129 strikes our planet?  ( Pixabay ) A giant asteroid estimated to be between 1,600 and 4,000 feet across will skim past Earth next month. It will hurl...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *