Norway to become first country to end FM radio
Norway is set to become the first nation to start
switching off its FM radio network, in a risky and
unpopular leap to digital technology that will be
closely watched by other countries considering
whether to follow suit.
Critics say the government is rushing the move
and that many people may miss emergency
warnings, which have until now been broadcast
via the radio, as a result.
They have also expressed concern over the 2
million cars on Norway’s roads that are not
equipped with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)
Sixty-six per cent of Norwegians oppose
switching off FM, with just 17 per cent in favour
and the rest undecided, according to an opinion
poll published by the daily Dagbladet last month.
Nevertheless, parliament gave the final go-ahead
for the move last month, swayed by the fact that
digital networks can carry more radio channels.
Switzerland plans a similar shift from 2020, and
Britain and Denmark are among those also
considering such a switch.
A smooth transition to DAB, which is already
beamed across Norway, could encourage these
countries to also move ahead.
The shutdown of the FM (Frequency Modulation)
network, introduced in the 1950s, will begin in the
northern city of Bodoe on January 11th.
By the end of the year, all national FM broadcasts
will be closed in favour of DAB, which backers
say will carry less hiss and clearer sound for
listeners in the large nation cut by fjords and
“We’re the first country to switch off FM, but
there are several countries going in the same
direction,” said Ole Joergen Torvmark, head of
Digital Radio Norway, which is owned by national
broadcasters NRK and P4.