Radio-On-Phones Proponents: There’s A Better Way

Years ago I interned at a newspaper in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the time made infamous by an obscenity trial against photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the city’s Contemporary Arts Center, which exhibited his work. I talked to the art critic who covered the trial, in which the artist and museum were acquitted. I was kind of surprised at the verdict since Cincinnati is a socio-politically conservative town, until the critic explained: “The jury said, ‘We don’t want to look at this filth–but by God, the government sure isn’t going to tell us we can’t.'”

That’s the same attitude that the Consumer Electronics Association uncovered in a survey about FM radio tuners on mobile phones, whose results were revealed today. Eighty percent of Americans said they do not support a government mandate that would force manufacturers to include an FM tuner in mobile phones, the CEA reported.

As a marketer, I can see how FM receivers on phones offer great advertising and cross-platform campaign opportunities. As a consumer, I wouldn’t mind such a receiver, especially since I’ve spent the last several days listening to stations’ Internet streams on my EVO. But industries and business that want to reach consumers shouldn’t force themselves upon them–as savvy mobile and digital marketers have long realized.

Best practices mandates opt-in text messaging campaigns, in which consumers sign up, and confirm that they want, to get SMS messages from companies. Legitimate email marketers are bound by law, as well as best practices, not to send out spam to any email address they can find. That same respect for consumer choice should extend to mobile devices.

“Americans continue to want consumer electronics products designed by market demand rather than government mandates,” Gary Shapiro, the CEA’s president and CEO, said in a release. The study also found 75 percent of U.S. adults agree that designs of consumer electronics products should be determined by manufacturers, not by the government.

The national telephone survey was conducted between August 26 and 29, 2010, among a sample of 1,257 adults. The survey was conducted among two independent non-overlapping national probability samples–one for landlines and one for cell phones–to ensure the data is representative of all U.S. adults.