National Norway radio stations switch off FM

National radio stations went fully digital in Norway on Wednesday 13th December, at 11:11.11am, after a year-long transition.

The last regions to get the FM stations were Troms, Finnmark and Svalbard. Now there’s only local stations left using the FM band, which will continue for some time.

Ole Jørgen Torvmark, CEO of Digital Radio Norway (DRN) says listeners are leaving it till the last minute to buy new radio sets, with most buying just after the FM switch-off.

Norway currently has 31 national radio channels on DAB, compared to the 5 national channels previous on FM. The new National channels, transmitting only on DAB, have gained more listeners in 2017. New channels now account for about one-third of the total listening. Every day, 1.4 million Norwegians listen to channels that had not existed without the digital radio shift.

Total listening is expected to increase gradually in 2018 when the last listeners do the conversion.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, had this to say: “We congratulate the Norwegian broadcasters and Digital Radio Norway on completing the transition to digital radio and becoming the first country in the world to switch-off FM transmissions for major stations. Digital radio continues to make great progress in the UK and, with digital listening now at 48.8%, we are looking forward to the majority of all radio listening being via a digital platform in the new year. There are many lessons that we can learn from the Norway experience, particularly in relation to making sure there are the right products and resources to help listeners upgrade to digital radio in their car.”

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  1. Charlie Reynolds says

    Well done, Norway. Next up, the UK, followed by the Republic of Ireland, Australia and the rest to create a fully digital world in radio.

    1. AlMorr says

      Charlie, I don’t think the UK will be next to switch off FM, the next country to switch off FM I think is Switzerland, we here in the UK at the rate we are going will be lucky to see the FM switch off before 2030, lets face it we still have AM for another 5 years on Talksport.

      1. Charlie Reynolds says

        OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! AlMorr! How dare you say that FM will switch off in this country in 2030! That’s it! You are grounded, grounded, grounded until this site shuts down! Go to your room!

  2. Knut Sand says

    Well. This was neutral and unbiased news (irony..).
    What they do not tell you, is that approx..60% of Norwegian listeners are not happy. 30 % are happy with DAB+, 10 % don’t care.
    NRK (Norwegian national radio) have experienced a total loss in listeners of approx. 20%.
    Of course, we have more listeners on the new digital stations, more than before that is.
    Try to compare it with a company that maintain a piece of roadside; sidewalk/ road/ sidewalk. Then one fine day you get this idea; Dig up the road section, plant petunias! The next day, newspaper read: “traffic on sidewalks increases with 30%!, users embrace this new concept!”. An improvement would be easy to sell, especially in Norway; geek country no.1. Are they (the users) happy with the new DAB+ concept/ idea?
    I can try to answer; Some newspapers in Norway actually have looked into this; Dagbladet have reported two times that listeners have left from radio, in large numbers (60-70%). Any other industry in the world; the board would have sacked the persons responsible for this loss in user numbers. Newspaper Klassekampen, have similar comments. Aftenposten have finally got wind of something; they check if the agreement between Norkring (antennas, transmitters, equipment), NRK, MTG Norway, Bauer Group is restricting diversity, As this agreement gives P4 and Radio Norge full control over national commercial radio to 2032 (!). NRK have increased the number of stations significantly. However; the number in NRK of emplyees is equal; so much seem to be autogenerated. So much for diversity.
    The FM transmitters were deemed useless, run-down and too old to repair/ continue on. Now we use some of these these to build a FM radio system in Malawi (?) (Dagens Naeringsliv /
    Car adapters/ radios should be available and reasonable priced; Well, here in Norway a separate roof antenna is needed, it seem. The cheapest adapter cost approx. 150 euros. Work to fit this; 100-150 euros, antenna will cost approx. the same, resulting in approx. 500 euros for Dab+ in car. And you’re not guaranteed signal/ reception… A large numbers of car owners/ drivers are not pleased. DAB+ in tunnels over 500 m length cost approx. 40000-50000 Euros/ each. Norway have some tunnels… Goes with the territory (mountains).
    FM radios in cars will work; FM stereo, FM mono, FM with noise, white noise.
    Dab+ radios in cars will work; DAB stereo, Dab cut/noise, silence.
    Somwhere along the line1 they managed to sell in the idea that FM Stereo was the measure. And DAB+ are most places equal to that. But the users experience otherwise and are not too pleased.
    Somwhere along the line2 they managed to alter the area coverage goal from landmass area to people %.

    Norwegian politicians took the glass pearls and bait, hook line and sinker. The Norwegian population pays the price, in average 800 euros each hosehold, have not got the program improvement sold in to the politicians, have reduced radio coverage in cars, have less traffic information, less GPS guidance in cars (as this was on FM). And when we got radios; all we hear are idiots…
    Best regards Knut Sand (sorry for bad English, but had to get the frustration vented)

  3. Knut Sand says

    Dagbladet have reported two times that listeners have left from radio, in large numbers (60-70%).
    Sorry, this should read:
    Dagbladet have reported two times that listeners are not satisfied with DAB+ radio, in large numbers (60-70%).

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