Norway's controversial radio switch-off

Jan 08, 2017, 00:29
Norway's controversial radio switch-off

Writing in Dagbladet previous year, Thoresen said: "Only 16 percent of the population supports the decision to shut down the national FM network..." Around two million cars in the country are also unequipped with Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) technology.

The shutdown of the FM (frequency modulation) network will start in the northern city of Bodo on 11 January.

Other countries are considering following suit with Switzerland planning to make its own transition to digital only radio from 2020. This could happen to many people in Norway, where the government is going forward with a controversial plan to eliminate FM radio by the end of the year. To do so, they'd need to buy a digital audio broadcasting (DAB) receiver, which costs the equivalent of $175 in USA currency.

The Norwegian government decided to make the transition in part because digital radio can provide many more channels for the same price - eight times as many, to be precise. However, there are two million cars in Norway that do not have DAB receivers.

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are planning to make the switch so the success, or otherwise of this transition will be closely monitored.

It means listeners will need a device that can pick up a digital signal.

A number of countries have suggested they might also shut down FM at some point soon.

FM Radio, invented in 1933, is still being used around the world.

For some of you reading this, the word "radio" evokes the image of an icon you press on your smartphone or tablet. Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is also used in Europe and Japan has ISDB-T and there is another technique used in the USA and Arab countries called HD Radio.

Digital media journalist Jan Thoresen criticized the decision, saying that Norwegian politicians were making 15 million FM radios in Norway "completely useless".

"We are simply not ready for this yet", Ib Thomsen, an MP from the Progress Party, a partner in the Conservative-led government, told Reuters. "So there is definitely a safety concern", he said. However, for the same cost as FM, DAB will allow eight times more radio stations. "That could be reached by the end of 2017 on current trends, Digital Radio U.K. spokeswoman Yvette Dore said".

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