The new word on the street in Norway is #FMexit, to represent the digital switchover happening on Wednesday morning.
The multi-station FM-switch off takes place on Wednesday 11 January and will be marked by an international ceremony attended by senior radio and media policy figures including the Norwegian Secretary of State, Bård Folke Fredriksen; Paul Keenan, CEO Bauer Media UK and the Nordics; and Graham Dixon, Head of Radio, European Broadcasting Union. During the ceremony at precisely 11.11am (10:11am, UK), a giant dial will be moved from FM to DAB to signify the moment of the transition.
The Norwegian switch off is to be implemented region by region across six regions, starting in the arctic city of Bodø in Nordland and ending in the northern regions of Troms and Finnmark on 13 December 2017. Norway’s radio industry, including public broadcaster NRK and commercial broadcasters P4 Group and Bauer Media’s SBS Radio, have collaborated on a plan to ensure a smooth transition for listeners, with all three turning off FM broadcasts simultaneously in two regions and NRK Radio leading the way in four.
Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “Norway and the UK both have a common vision of a digital future for radio to allow it to compete effectively in a multiplatform and connected world. Norway has opted to accelerate the transition to digital radio through a coordinated digital radio switchover.
“We wish our Norwegian colleagues a successful and smooth transition and will be watching their progress with great interest as we move towards the threshold of 50% digital listening.”
The Norwegian switchover will affect all national radio stations and commercial local radio stations broadcasting in larger cities. Community radio stations and smaller local stations will continue to broadcast on FM for five more years after national switch off.