NextRadio sets its sights on FM chip activation in T-Mobile Android phones

nextradio canvasNextRadio is pushing to get T-Mobile to unlock FM chips on its phones. The company has launched a campaign with the tagline “Help Get NextRadio on T-Mobile.” It asks people to turn to social media and voice their support for unlocking the chips for phones on T-Mobile plans. The effort is centered on the #sayyestoFMchip hashtag and encourages fans to tweet at both the official T-Mobile account and at CEO John Legere to ask for chip activation. NextRadio President Paul Brenner even addressed Legere directly in a video clip shared to YouTube.

The company recently inked a deal with AT&T that will see the chips activated in Android smartphones supporting the carrier in 2016. Jeff Smulyan, CEO of parent company Emmis Communications, expressed his optimism about the outlook for the app in the company’s Q1 2016 earnings call last month. “This will be something that we think changes the face of American Radio,” he said.

Anna Washenko


  1. One T-mobile phone has had the chip activated already for quite awhile. I own the 1st version of the HTC-One (with beats audio) and it comes stock with an FM Radio app that operates perfectly on T-Mobile. I have been using it for the last couple of years. Next Radio needs to be aware that the chip is already activated on the T-mobile HTC One phones

  2. Do you have any reception issues, particularly after about 50 miles away from the transmitter farm for most major stations in your area? Do you have a lot of ‘translators’ or other lower-powered signals?

    I’ve found that when you get over about 50 miles from the transmitter, electrical interference from your car, if you don’t use the radio, or if you are on public transit, can interfere with the signal. Some formats are more prone to multipath interference when in Downtown areas or near mountains, classical being the one here that is. Low power stations such as translators and LPFMs have a somewhat weaker signal and often have both the electrical interference and also do not carry out as far as your car radio would.

    Many times if you go into a shadow area not covered by a translator or more recently a booster, you’ll lose the signal completely with a phone which is no more than a portable radio with this chip, whereas often a car radio will still pick up the signal.

    All of that is the big downside to adoption of the technology in some urban areas, and in many outlying areas where radio choices are often governed by which religious broadcasters slurped up what frequencies (often they did big land-grabs which prevented a wider variety of formats from being available in outlying areas), those areas will not see much adoption of the technology, after all, if you can’t get it over the air, why bother with having the chip.

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