Norway is killing FM radio

Norway radio

Norway radio

A poll by daily Dagbladet last month, when the radio shift was approved, found the majority of Norwegians - 66% - opposing the move, with just 17% in favour and the rest undecided.

Cars will be the biggest challenge in Norway, where there are an estimated 2 million vehicles that are not equipped with digital audio broadcasting (DAB) receivers.

The FM network, which was introduced in the 1950s, will begin is shut down on January 11 in Bodoe. The decision has not been well received by all the residents but other countries will be watching as Norway will be the first to do this.

Norway is to become the first country to shut down its FM radio network, despite concerns that millions are not ready for the switch to digital. The cost for a good adapter for the FM radio is about $235 Canadian. The switch-off applies only to national radio stations and certain regional ones, most local radio stations can keep transmitting on their FM networks. However, analog radio (AM and FM) is still more popular and listening to radio over IP (Internet Protocol) is growing in popularity. Switzerland is planning to transition in 2020, and the United Kingdom and Denmark are considering it. Norway's experiment will show the rest of the world whether this controversial idea can really work.

"Norwegian politicians have decided to make 15 million FM radios in Norway completely useless", digital media expert Jan Thoresen wrote in Dagbladet earlier this year, adding: "That's a bad idea". Proponents of the switch say that DAB is clearer and a better fit for this environment.

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

What is the digital radio switchover?

But critics, including Ib Thomsen, an MP from the Progress Party, a partner in the Conservative-led government, consider the move a hazard.

The government estimates that radio stations will save more than 200 million kroner ($23.5 million) a year by ditching FM, allowing them to invest further in radio content. The move is raising safety concerns as well since the FM radios serve as a means to alert houses situated in remote locations in case of an emergency. Many more cities will continue to do this throughout the year and the switch should be completed by the end of the year.