IAAIS Supports Radio-capable Cell Phones

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Sep 30, 2010 - The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) calls for Congressional support of the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) proposal to mandate the placement of a chip in cellular phones that would enable phones to receive local radio.

The IAAIS represents audio information services for blind and disabled persons. These services provide free, verbatim human voice readings of magazines, newspapers and other publications over FM subcarriers. IAAIS sees this application as being particularly useful in emergency situations.

"When the next hurricane or other disaster strikes, people would be able to easily take their radios with them. All that they would need to communicate and receive communications could be carried in one device," said David Noble, IAAIS government relations committee chair. "Even more, no matter where a person traveled to, they would have fast access to the most up-to-date local news."

The IAAIS believes that this proposal deserves even more attention now that the 21st Century Telecommunication and Video Accessibility Act has passed the House and Senate. Under the act, cell phones makers would be required to make the devices even more accessible to people with disabilities.

"Having this capability built into devices that are already being used by people with disabilities brings them one step closer to equality and independence," said Noble. "And, because local radio stations are free, a disabled person, who typically makes less than his or her nondisabled peers, won’t have to buy a smart phone and add an expensive monthly data plan."

Founded in 1977, the IAAIS is a non-profit association of independently operated broadcast entities that provide reading services and specialized programming for people who cannot see, hold or comprehend standard printed matter in more than 100 radio markets throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. IAAIS encourages and facilitates the establishment and maintenance of such programs.

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