It turns out that FM radio stations -- like NPR -- don't particularly like personal FM transmitters, such as the (pictured, blown-up
) iTrip. While you're no doubt gasping for breath at this shocking revelation, we'll present the evidence. While certain countries
have been hesitant to allow the use of FM transmitters, the use of such devices in the US has so far remained legal -- much to the chagrin of radio stations which "own" the frequencies that these devices broadcast on. Although the FCC has been investigating
the issue of motorist's radio experiences being harmed by FM transmitters, specifically ones integrated into portable satellite radios from XM
, it seems that the radio companies still aren't satisfied -- to the point at which NPR has carried out its own investigation into the matter. Their findings were that 40% of the devices exceed FCC power limits, with a separate study showing that 75% of devices are too powerful. NPR's assessment that all offending transmitters should be recalled is a fair one, but their claim that "these modulators pose a significant threat" to public radio is a little dramatic. To us the solution seems pretty clear: if you are going to use an FM transmitter, make sure to choose a frequency that isn't occupied. You won't piss off other drivers (unless they're partial to a bit of static), and you'll get better sound quality. Everybody wins!*
*Except the companies that own the radio stations which you aren't listening to.