Sprint first carrier to sign on to FM radio service

Sprint announced a preliminary arrangement with American radio industry representatives that will enable customers to listen to local FM radio stations on their mobile phones.

Sprint said it will be the first time a U.S. wireless carrier would offer the ability to directly access local FM radio on their phones. Consumers currently can listen to radio on their smartphones but only by streaming the station over the Internet.

The new service will be delivered through the NextRadio tuner application, expected to be available later this year. Other applications will eventually follow. Only certain Android and Windows phones will be able to use the service.

Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications, acted as principal negotiator for the radio industry in arranging the deal with Sprint.

"Today is a remarkable day for our industry," Smulyan said in a prepared statement. "I am gratified by the unity I have seen in our industry. It seems every broadcaster I know has supported this effort."

Smulyan said Emmis and the National Association of Broadcasters developed the tuner and have spent several years trying to persuade cellphone providers to use it.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.