The Norwegian Ministry of Culture has formally announced a national FM-switch off as the country has completed the move to digital radio. This makes it the first country in the world to decide upon an analogue switch-off for all major radio channels. With DAB and digital radio, listeners will be provided with more radio channels and greater diversity in content.
Thor Gjermund Eriksen, head of the NRK Radio station, who with a name like that if he does not have a forked beard and a magical hammer should really think of getting one, said it was an important day for everyone who loves radio.
“The minister`s decision allows us to concentrate our resources even more upon what is most important, namely to create high quality and diverse radio-content to our listeners,” he said.
DAB-coverage in Norway now exceeds FM-coverage. DAB provides Norway with 22 national channels, as opposed to five channels transmitting nationwide on FM.
The switch-off will begin on 11th January 2017 which gives Norwegians a final date for the move to digital radio, a process persisting for several years.
NRK, P4 Group and SBS Radio will turn off all its FM broadcasts simultaneously in two of six regions. In four regions however, NRK Radio will lead the way in FM-switch off.
Several countries in Europe and Southeast Asia, however, are in similar processes, choosing DAB-technology as the backbone of future radio distribution.
Norway began the move to DAB in 1995. In recent years two national and several local DAB-networks has been established. 56 per cent of radio listeners use digital radio every day. 55 per cent of households have at least one DAB radio, according to Digitalradio survey by TNS Gallup, continuously measuring the Norwegian`s digital radio habits.
One of the advantages for government is that if FM is shifted to the internet it opens up the spectrum for something more lucrative.