posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Aug 2010 22:19 UTC
IconA couple of days ago we talked about how the RIAA and NAB are planning on asking US Congress to mandate FM radio chips inside every cell phone. This plan was met with some ridicule, so the NAB decided to write a blog post addressing the critics. Most of the post is overshadowed by an overdose of America's favourite national pastime: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. 9/11!

Well.

The blog post by NAB's Dennis Wharton is very, very weak; if this is all the NAB can muster, then they certainly must be at their wit's end. They start of with the following gem of an argument: people seem to choose to buy cell phones with FM chips inside them anyway, so why not mandate them? On top of that, the popularity of radio is increasing, so why not mandate FM chips inside cell phones?

Well, Mr Wharton, the popularity of pornography is undisputed. People, whether male or female, like photographic and filmographic material of naked men, women, possibly engaging in the act of intercourse. People might have different tastes (for instance, some prefer filmographic material of two females kissing), but in the end, we all like some good ol' porn.

Does this mean US Congress should mandate porn on all cell phones?

With that out of the way, Mr Wharton resorts to The One Tactic which almost always works in America (and to a lesser extent, in many European countries): fear. He goes on and on about how the FM radio could prove essential in distributing information during crisis situations. With Katrina and 9/11 fresh in our memories - let alone the current disaster in Pakistan - this does indeed sound like a good argument.

Except, of course, that it's nonsense. Most FM chips inside cell phones require headphones, since the headphones are used as antenna. How many people will have misplaced their headphones - proprietary jack, of course - when disaster strikes? Is Congress going to mandate all Americans carry cell phone headphones? Internal antennas might be an answer, except that those generally have shoddy reception.

Also, how often will you be out of at least walking distance of a car, which almost always have radios inside them? How often are you out of at least walking distance of a television, a much better medium for conveying crisis information?

As I said in our first item on this subject, I, living in Foreign, look at this with utter, utter amazement. Government influence over something as essential and civilised as healthcare is met with a lot of resistance, yet stuff like this doesn't seem too much of a problem.

Rare jongens, die Amerikanen.

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