Norway’s Minister of Culture announced this week that a national FM-radio switch off will commence in 2017, allowing the country to complete its transition over to digital radio. It’s the end of an era.
As Radio.no notes, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) will provide Norwegian listeners more diverse radio channel content than ever before. Indeed, DAB already hosts 22 national channels in Norway, as opposed to FM radio’s five, and a TNS Gallup survey shows that 56% of Norwegian listeners use digital radio every day. While Norway is the first country in the world to set a date for an FM switch-off, other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are also in the process of transitioning to DAB.
Norway on Wednesday completed its transition to digital radio, becoming the first country in the world to shut down national broadcasts of its FM radio network despite some grumblings.
As scheduled, the country’s most northern regions and the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic switched to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in the late morning, said Digitalradio Norge (DRN) which groups Norway’s public and commercial radio.
The transition, which began on January 11th, allows for better sound quality, a greater number of channels and more functions, all at a cost eight times lower than FM radio, according to authorities.
Downside: DAB receivers start at around €100; only about half of Norway’s motor vehicles are equipped with DAB; and at least some of the radio audience is missing in action:
According to a study cited by local media, the share of Norwegians who listen to the radio on a daily basis has dropped by 10 percent in one year, and public broadcaster NRK has lost 21 percent of its audience.
Some local stations, not affiliated with the DRN group, are still running their FM transmitters.