From time to time events in the world remind us that modern technology has limits, as we recently saw with the problems with Amazon Web Services, that took down many major web sites. People were having panic attacks because they were having issues getting to their favorite website.
Theoretically the internet was created to be a better more fault tolerant communications system. As the internet has exploded commercially it has become the exactly the opposite of the original goal. It has created the biggest single point of failure in our world. People forget there are other ways of doing things without using the internet, like using traditional broadcast radio for news and entertainment.
It scares me that some people think that we should use the internet for everything. Instead of making any more comments based on my subjective opinion, I felt inspired to do a little research.
It would appear that traditional radio is still alive and well.
Here are some snippets from Pew Research on radio broadcasting:
"... terrestrial radio continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the public."
As far as using radio for a source of news and information: "Pew Research Center’s own survey work adds insight here, finding radio to be a common source of news among adults in the U.S. In research asking about how people are learning about the U.S. presidential election, 44% of adults said they learned about it from radio in the past week. "
Most smartphones come with FM radio receivers already built in, and the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants you to know that your wireless carrier may be keeping you from using the technology. Why should you care about using FM Radio on your cell phone?
Emergency management professionals will tell you that traditional radio is a great source for news during times of emergency.
There are people in the cell phone industry that would call the public safety argument for using cell phone FM radio just a marketing ploy by traditional radio, but I would disagree. I know from first hand experience how fickle cell phone service can be.
During an earthquake on the east coast a few years ago everyone picked up their cellphones and began calling everyone they know to see what had happened. The cell phone circuits were overloaded. Thankfully the earthquake was just some rumbling and no major damage was done. But we all saw how vulnerable we are if we rely on cellular phone circuits for information during a time of emergency.
It happened again with Hurricane Sandy, and the problem was compounded by actual damage to cell towers and power outages in addition to increased phone volume. Cell phone users experienced various communications issues.
What is the issue with using FM Radio on your cell phone?