Putting FM receivers in cellphones and other mobile devices has suddenly become a hot potato on Capitol Hill.

A coalition of six technology industry associations dispatched letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees urging them not to craft legislation that would mandate FM receivers in mobile devices.

The idea for the mandate originated as part of a compromise between the National Association of Broadcasters and the Recording Industry Association of America. Those groups are, respectively, the key opponents and proponents of instituting performance royalties on music airplay.

Persuading Congress to mandate FM tuners in phones would give both radio stations and music artists access to larger audiences, and provide consumers with another mobile content option.

That said, the technology industry isn't happy about being put in the middle.

“Calls for an FM chip mandate are not about public safety, but are instead about propping up a business which consumers are abandoning as they avail themselves of new, more consumer-friendly options,” the associations wrote. “It is simply wrong for two entrenched industries to resolve their differences by agreeing to burden a third industry -- which has no relationship to or other interest in the performance royalty dispute -- with a costly, ill-considered and unnecessary new mandate.”

The groups -- CTIA, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Rural Cellular Association, TechAmerica, and the Telecommunications Industry Association -- argued that such a mandate would be bad policy because it would lead to higher prices for consumers. They also argued that FM tuners are unnecessary for emergencies since the government is developing a mobile broadcast emergency alert system.

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