The unlocked version of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones sold in the United States now support FM radio. The newly accessible feature was made available via the latest software update, enabling anyone to plug in a pair of wired headphones and listen to their local terrestrial radio broadcasts. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets sold through US carriers already support FM radio.
READ: Samsung Galaxy S9 Review
Local radio broadcasts have fallen out of favor as more people turn to on-demand streaming options, particularly now that offline downloads and unlimited data are both easily accessible. Unlike streaming, though, FM radio stations are free to listen to and, more importantly, are a way to disperse information to a local population when other methods may not be available.
Back in January, it was announced that Samsung’s future US and Canadian smartphones would support FM radio, a decision made following a call by the FCC for phone makers to include active FM chips in their devices. The reasoning, according to the FCC, is that local radio is an important part of the nation’s emergency alert system.
Officials turn to local radio stations to relay important information about severe weather, vehicular accidents blocking roads, and more. Many people no longer own a standalone FM radio, however, instead turning to their smartphone as an all-in-one gadget.
Though FM radio was once very popular among handsets, it began disappearing from higher-end models, including from iPhones starting with the iPhone 7. Samsung isn’t following that trend, and underscoring the decision is the latest update for unlocked models. With it, owners of the unlocked S9 phones can use an app like NextRadio to tune into their local over-the-air radio stations.