I like my smart phone the way it is, thank you.

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), in trying to reach a settlement with the music industry, has decided that cellphones are part of the problem. No kidding, the fact that smart phones like the iPhone and Android do not have FM tuners seems to be a part of the negotiations, even though the cellphone industry has nothing to do with music royalties.  The argument is, more people will listen to, and more importantly, buy music if they have an FM tuner in their smartphone.

I don’t know about that.

My HTC Android phone does have an FM tuner, it also has a metal detector.  I have found both the be novel applications.   Even though I work in radio, I have used the FM tuner twice.  Technically speaking, I find it to be adequate.  In order to receive anything, a pair of headphones or earbuds has to be used, because the headphone wire acts as the antenna.

That being said, I cannot count the number of times I have used Pandora or other online audio applications.  Several times a day at least.  Why?  Because the content it better.

If consumers want FM tuners in their cellphones, they will ask for them.  Cellphone manufacture’s will gladly comply, and make them.  The real problem is, most people don’t care about radio because most radio programming is boring and uninspired these days.  Let me paraphrase that:


Offer a better product and listeners will return.  If there were a compelling reason to build FM tuners into cellphones, it would already be done.  Forcing the cellphone manufactures to do something they don’t want to do will simply drive up prices.

The NAB has led the radio industry astray for years now, we really should stop listening to them.

NAB Engineering Handbook

I just found my old copy of the NAB Engineering Handbook, sixth edition. I have enjoyed throughly looking at the AM antenna sections. It reminds me, that while we tend to think we have come up with new answers to old problems, really most of this was figured out a long time ago, this particular edition was copyrighted in 1975.

It is a thick book and covers AM, FM and TV broadcasting technology as it was understood in 1975.  There are several chapters about “current” things that no longer apply, there are also many very useful items, such as studio construction, AM and FM broadcast antennas, tower maintenance and so on.

I will keep this on my shelf because it is an interesting primer on AM broadcast antennas with all attendant formulas and charts.  It is quite interesting and fun if one is looking for the theoretical efficiency of a 185 degree radiator at 1 mile.  I remember WPTR (now WDCD) in Albany had a three tower with 206 degree radiators, 50 KW carrier power on 1540 KHz.  It seemed to be quite effective, when I was chief engineer there, we used to get reception reports from South Africa.

Perhaps one day, I’ll put some of that information to good use with an AM station of my own.