Gov't May Require Cell Phones Receive Radio

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The U.S. government may require cell phones to include a chip that enables them to pick up FM radio.

USA Today reported the change could be the long-sought solution to an ongoing battle between broadcasters and musicians over royalty fees.

Broadcasters and the musician's union say that millions of cell phones are already equipped to pick up radio signals. They argue if something would happen to the wireless network, the radio chip would allow the phones to be useful as consumers would still be able to receive FM radio signals.

Cell phone manufacturers are against the idea. They say that it will affect the battery life and weight of cell phones, adding features that consumers really don't want.

Last November, members of Congress asked broadcasters and musicians to come up with their own compromise. Both sides have held private talks since then.

On the government's provision requiring FM radios in cell phones, Variety reports that Consumer Electronics Assn. President Gary Shapiro said it was a "back-room scheme" mandating "backward-looking features."

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