CrackBerry Asks: Do you use/want FM radio on your BlackBerry?

By Adam Zeis on 9 Nov 2012 02:36 pm EST
 FM Radio  

Sitting through the last two weeks and examing my "hurricane gadgets" (yes, I still have no power), it got me thinking about which I use most and which have the most purpose. One of the things I've stood by is a little AM/FM radio I've had for years. There is a local station here in New Jersey that has kept us extremely well informed throughout the last two weeks, and I'm thankful that I had my radio to keep me in touch. 

What would be better than having a portable radio in an emergency? Having one built into my BlackBerry. Unfortunately the Bold 9900 doesn't have an FM radio feature, but devices like the Curve 9310, 9320 and 9360 all have the option built in. Plug in your headset and you get FM radio action right on your phone. While I never thought I'd used it before, I actually wish I had it during this ordeal.

What we want to know is this: If you have a device with FM radio, do you use it? If not, is it something you want for your device? Pick the option in the poll above that best fits then head to the comments and let us know your reasons. 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

CrackBerry Asks: Do you use/want FM radio on your BlackBerry?


I think the FM radio is fantastic. I used to own a LG Viewty (dire phone) and loved the radio. I then I updated to the 8520 and lost it. Now I'm on a 9320 and I'm glad to see it back.


It's probably more of an efficiency thing, radio freq ranges are more limited these days compared to internet/wifi service areas. But still, life is always better with options.

I think it would be good. I use my phone everyday for work since I'm out side and when I run out of podcasts it would be nice to have this. I would enjoy it (as long as it works not like my droid x where it was a sad excuse) but if it didn't I would complain since its not too relevent anymore. But I do enjoy the morning radio shows and sport on the radio...

Probably not, If I use any thing, its the music player, then nobex or something like that. I seriously doubt I'd appreciate a radio function, I mean why? I can get local radio stations and more through nobex, etc...

You saved a lot of battery life with FM radio because you ain't using the wifi radio to stream the local radio stations.

I have a 9900 that doesn't have FM Radio, but if it had it, there are times I would use it. There is one time in particular that I wished I had a built in radio. Durring the Vancouver Olympics the lineups for some of the events & houses were huge. It would have been great if I had had a radio that I could have followed the ongoing events with. I waited 9.5 hours in rain to be able to hold the medals. That was the day canada won a bunch of gold medals. There was 1 guy in the line beside us that had a built in FM transmitter, everyone was crowded around him looking for updates.

having FM is a nice feature to have on the bb but I don't use it but if it was an AM feature... then I could retire my old sony am/fm/weather walkman

I'm with you, AM would be great.. I live in the Toronto area and walk my dog in the evenings, usually while listening to Raptors post game or Blue Jays talk or even while the games are on.. AM would be awesome..

You can't even have an AM radio --- because chipset makers don't put AM radio into their chips.

Cell phones have FM radio because wifi chipset makers put a FM radio inside the wifi chips.

AM is not feasible in a cell phone. Not only would the chipset need to be able to support it, but the interference you'd get from the phone's electronics would render it useless (even if you could find a way to put a ferrite-rod antenna in there to begin with).

Unless of course you expect to be walking around with one of those AM loop antennas you see bundled with home receivers and such. :)

Strange your comments given that I built an AM receiver years ago from approximately a dozen discrete electronic components and it was powered by the radio waves themselves.

i have a limited understanding of the hardware requirements but what i do know is that AM hardware is not as portable as FM, so scratch having AM built in the phone but what if an external AM accessory was made to add to a a case or something that attaches to the back of the phone like the extended battery cases seem on other for thought

The reason this feature became cool, I had my Nokia 808, went to a drive it and watched a movie in the car and had to fix my radio station to listen in. I went out for to smoke and tuned my nokia and got to listen to the movie outside the car using the radio in the phone. its a cool feature that would not hurt to add

The idea of getting FM radio right from your phone is an awesome idea but it's a battery and data hog. I have TuneIn Radio Pro installed on my 9900 and it states that it can use upwards of 100MB of data per hour. I'd only ever use it on Wi-Fi which kinda defeats the purpose of mobile radio.

The difference is that a native FM tuner wouldn't use data. It would pull the radio waves from the air just like a regular FM radio.

It would use the battery, but that's it.

I get all the local AM/FM stations that I normally listen to on TuneIn but if a native FM feature saved power, I would definitely use it.

It's one of those things that I would probably never use outside the authors present circumstances.

I haven't turned on a radio in years, mainly because there's nothing in my town worth listening to...

I have the 9900 - no built-in FM radio. However, I use the TuneIn radio app almost daily. It uses device data, but that's not an issue for me (8gb/month).

Quite honestly I'm hooked listening to BBC through TuneIn and if I need to listen to anything local I can find it there too. Fortunately I have unlimited data so I can afford the use.

It would be great when I go to live sporting events (like hockey games, nascar races, etc...) to be able to listen to what the announcers are saying without having to bring a small radio along

I'd love to have it included on my 9900. I'm still a radio junkie, for some reason, and I need my fix without using my data plan.

I use the radio on my current phone at least once or twice a week. I would miss it if it wasn't in my next phone but probably wouldn't skip a phone if it was missing.

I like sports and the mlb at bat is the only app I have found that works properly. I have tried other third party apps like tune in radio, but all stations aren't always available for college football. There are a few local sports networks in my area but are never on iheart radio or tunein. A FM radio would be fantastic, plus it's a 50 year technology, don't think it would be too hard to implement into today's technology

I would love to have an FM feature to listen to NPR shows and newscasts. There have been so many times where I would be listening to a program in my car and then get to my destination only to have to leave my car.

TuneIn Radio is one of the first apps I install on any mobile phone - it offers a huge, worldwide selection for free, it's a great way to learn another language, etc., so I'm not sure how this would be different.

My girlfriend has Fm radio and I'd love to have it on my device too! It works really well and came in handy during the hurricane but you can only use it with headphones which sucked during the Hurricane as we all wanted to listen to the updates. I guess maybe the headphones act as a antenna? Idk but speakerphone option would be great.

You can actually use the speakerphone with the FM radio; you just need the headphones attached (you are correct; the headphones act as an antenna). All you have to do is to select the speaker icon in the lower right-hand corner (either that, or it's a menu option).

Any phone I've used with an FM tuner had the option to use the external speaker as well.

I love FM to be able to listen to NPR and events in a stadium while we are outside, etc. Plus it is a major safety feature like Adam has discovered. I live in earthquake country and used to be on the local Red Cross Board. Having a radio is really helpful, but I don't carry one. I always have my Berry with me.

I would like to have the FM HD where there are several channels on one freq. The am stations in PHX all rebroadcast on FM HD that would be cool

I would love to have a FM radio on my 9930. In this modern era of smartphones, I think ALL of them should have FM radios.

I'd definitely love to have FM radio on my nex BB, BB10,,,my power is still out from hurricane Sandy and it so happens my battery radios don't work so I have to call upon my lil yes FM radio built into BB10 would b gr8...on a different note, most importantly for me is good battery life,..that's my dealbreaker!

I like mawil1013 use Nobex all the time to stream AM and FM stations on both my 9900 as well as my Playbook so not worried about an FM function.

I have a 9360 for about a year now and have used the FM radio maybe twice. To say it's a battery hog is an understatement. If I was using FM a lot I'd be charging/changing batteries every 2 hours! Plus the phone gets very warm when your listening to FM for more than 30 minutes at a time. To me this borders on excessive wear'n tear on your phone which I can do without.

Then there's something wrong with the implementation of FM radio on your 9360. FM radio on my HTC One S is great, the reception is clear as a bell, it uses hardly any battery and no data and the phone does not get warm.
I've also got a BB 9790 and this will be the last phone I buy that has not got FM radio built in.

Apparently people in Africa wanted it. They wanted to listen to their local radio stations without chewing up bandwidth and RIM listened.

Actually, the real reason is that the chipset used in some of their phones supports it anyway so they have included it.

For AM stations you can always go online and get the feed. I like doing that to catch a game without having to keep searching for channels if i'm going somewhere.

Hey folks

This is the 21st century.

In Europe, Australia and many Asian countries, we need digital radio, not analogue radio.

(on behalf of the millions who use DAB, DAB+, or DMB)

Cue somebody sending that 21st century comment right back at you and pointing out how many moved on from (or simply ignored) DAB for internet-based options.

Well, that depends on which country you live-in and whether you have a good, free broadband connection wherever you go.

I use the free app Nobex Radio on my Playbook. With this great app I no longer have a need for an FM Radio, as this it allows me to listen to literally any FM Radio station on the planet.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Same for me. I have an iPod Nano that obviously requires that headphones be connected in order to hear its FM Radio, which is fine if you are already using the device and are in a public space, but sometimes at home I like to use TuneIn on my BB and put it on speakerphone. I think that's a big advantage of the app vs. hardware solution.

Internet radios such as Tunein are no substitute for a built in FM radio for those on low data plans. Compared to FM radio, internet radio IS a battery hog. Also the quality of the sound is not as good and you have to put up with a lot of buffering if you're in a area where there's a poor 3G signal.
Where internet radio does excel is in the number of stations there are to choose from however I suspect that many people just want to listen to a local or national station rather than one broadcast from Outer Mongolia.
So I vote 'yes' for FM but what would be even better for the BB10 phones is if they could implement DAB radio.

It boggles my mind why the FM radio is available on the 9360---but not the virtually identical 9370. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was, especially after waiting over six months for 7.1.

Question is, would ATT and verizon try to figure out a way to charge for it. I am actually considering getting an iPod Nano that has FM, just to have a little transistor radio with me for certain news shows. And, we do have one specific great FM music station here.

I spend the majority of my day deep underground, there is no AM/FM signal, but there is WIFI down here, so I use TuneIn (and Nobex previously). So no, an AM/FM Rx wouldn't help me any.

I'm working at a local radio station in my town, and listening to radio is daily routine (though mostly work related, recording&monitoring what announcer said on the air etc). But I use my pc to do that because no carriers here includes any streaming activity in their usual blackberry data plans. Which means if any of us here use radio apps, we are not using our paid data plan,but regular wap connection and that's very expensive (my boss once ended up with an extra $50 charged on his monthly bill, just because he used a radio app for few days). Only two carriers have recently added a special streaming plan but no one use it because it's still too expensive.

We have to do what android user does here (to connect to internet) when we want to use any radio apps. Using wifi.

I think its nifty, but I don't feel strongly enough about it to say the device should have it or not. It's just cool when it does!
Internet radio is where it's at for me anyway

I voted for an FM radio on this poll (I do not have a device which has one), but to be clear, I'd only want one if its inclusion in the device didn't adversely affect the performance of any of the other radios already in there.

BB missed the boat years ago and can redeem itself now. EVERY GYM from LA Fitness to Private Country Clubs have multiple TV panels on the wall to watch and LISTEN to while working out. Everybody has a device strapped to their arm for listening purposes. What could be better advertising and FUNCTIONALITY than having the device of choice on your arm to listen to the broadcasts (they have standard channel OVER THE AIR FM transmitters for those of you who do not go to the gym) and show off to everyone else. They are now putting advertisements on leg tattoos for goodness sakes! The extra device (Walkman, Sansa, etc.) can be eliminated and you can also take calls (if so desired) while working out that interrupt the FM OVER THE AIR signal. I have been looking for this for YEARS! Only the curve 9360 or a few android phones have this feature. I DO NOT WANT internet radio. As mentioned in other comments, the OVER THE AIR signal is also useful in emergencies. Why not also incorporate emergency bands like those available on $49 solar/battery/hand crank emergency radios sold on Frontgate and the hardware stores? This feature is a no brainer and should have been available since day one on all smartphones. PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN via APP OR A STANDARD FEATURE. We businesspeople use gym time as productively as possible and this is definitely something that will be used!!! This is something like the BIG MISTAKE Palm made when it did not put a phone in the early devices (1990's) that were almost identical to the current smartphones (yes, they had "pinch to zoom" on the screen for photos way back then). Thank you very much! I hope somebody at BB is listening or they may go the way of Palm because they did not listen even though they were ahead of their time on every device that is currently on the market (including iPhone, Netbooks, iPads, etc.) Are you listening Blackberry? I would love to see a reply from a decision-maker at BB on these forums. The Microsoft moron who removed the "START" button form windows8 was tossed out on his behind because he did not listen to his key customers. Palm had some of the BEST websites for SHARING USER IDEAS for maximizing their devices functionality. PLEASE, BB, LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS! YOU ARE NOT STEVE JOBS who did a great job of guessing what consumers would like. YOUR CUSTOMERS, BUSINESSPEOPLE WILL BE HAPPY TO TELL YOU IN THESE ONGOING FORUMS! I HOPE YOU HAVE SOME EMPLOYEES OVER 40 years old WHO UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS!!!!! THE YOUNG "KIDS" THINK THEY HAVE COME WITH UP WITH SOMETHING COOL WHEN Compaq offered a fully featured laptop / tablet combo back in 1994 when many of the current tech world employees were still in kindergarten. Every businessperson I have asked for 2 years has said that they would immediately switch back to Blackberry if it had a better screen & browser. Every phone fanatic I know who carries a BB & iPhone says the BB is twice as fast to use and get things done as the iPhone. But, they like some of the features of iPhone and can afford to carry both so they do. Good Luck with BB10. (Again, somebody at BB, please listen to us!)