The author is CEO of Digital Radio Norway.
Ole Jorgen is CEO of Digitalradio Norge (Digital Radio Norway).
OSLO — Norway’s digitization of radio has enabled the sort of content that listeners have sought for many years. NRK and commercial radio can, for the first time, offer the same channels in remote places like Senja as they do in Oslo.
The technology shift is the largest ever for listeners and the industry, and one simply cannot expect the population to undergo the transition without discussions. In fact, we are happy to see the engagement for radio, which underlines radios position in people’s lives. While DAB is broadcast like FM, it’s also a bit different and here are where we find some of the challenges.
While most people are managing well, the shift is not without obstacles for others. For listeners having trouble with new DAB radios, we have found that it’s difficult to know whether the problems are caused by coverage, products or other issues — which is why our guidance is so important.
Our experience is that many issues are caused by products and fitting. This applies especially to adapters, which require that one follow the installation instructions carefully. At the same time, feedback on coverage is monitored closely. More than 99.7 percent of the population has DAB coverage from NRK and 92.8 percent from commercial channels.
Norwegians are tuning into new stations that would not exist without the switch to DAB, says Jorgen.
Despite these hurdles we see that the transition is going well. The main test for broadcasters is listener numbers and, according to Kantar TNS 1.8 million Norwegians now turn on a DAB radio every day with 2.8 million Norwegians listening daily to radio. Perhaps more significantly, every day 1.2 million people listen to channels that could not exist without a digital switchover. Today’s audience research shows that it’s the new channels that are growing and many people have got a new favorite station.
Digital broadcasting and radio over the Internet work well together, with DAB being free to use everywhere. We urge everyone to choose the form that suits them best. Internet radio platforms from NRK, P4 and Radio Norway offer good services and have some of the best platforms in Europe. It is an offer that has been around for many years and one that is regularly updated with new functionality.
The broadcasters are deeply grateful for the work of the public in this transition. We take all feedback seriously, whether it’s from commentators, surveys or via a public service phone.
For many years, Norwegians have been replacing their FM radios with DAB radios, and now there are one or more DAB radios in almost four out of five households. When the FM network goes out, it will be a big transition for some, and we are here to help anyone who needs it — because we want them all to join us on digital radio.
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