Apple Urged to Activate iPhone’s FM Radio Chip

For 19 nonstop hours as Hurricane Irma lashed Florida, disc jockey Nio Fernandez broadcast updates in Spanish from the 92.5 Maxima radio studios in St. Petersburg, Florida, fielding updates from those trapped in their homes as wind and rain whipped through the area.

“There was a sense of desperation in people’s voices,” he said of callers to the station. “They needed to know what was happening.”

Fernandez’s efforts made it possible for listeners who had lost power, cell or internet service — as many in the region had — to keep up with the storm’s progress using FM radio chips embedded in their smartphones.

But not iPhone users. Though the phone includes the FM chip, Apple Inc. has chosen not to activate the feature, a move critics say could be putting lives in danger.

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