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Digital Listening Crests 75% in Switzerland

BAKOM’s Maissen affirms year-end 2024 FM shutdown

With analog broadcasting set to switchoff in 2024, Swiss radio listeners continue their migration to DAB+ and IP-based radio platforms.

In spring 2022, three-quarters of all time spend listening to radio in the country happened on digital platforms. Looking at the long-term trend, digital radio listening has increased by 26 percent since autumn 2015, while analog radio listening has halved. The Swiss Digital Migration Working Group, known as WG DigiMig, announced the spring 2022 listenership figures at SwissRadioDay in late August.

The WG DigiMig spring 2022 survey finds that DAB+ is the most popular radio listening platform at home, at work, and in cars.

According to WG DigiMig, only 13% of those surveyed said they listened to analog FM radio exclusively; 31% said they listened to a mix of analog and digital radio; and 43% reported listening only to digital radio. Another 10% of people reported not listening to the radio at all.

Online radio, favored by younger listeners, made up a third of radio listening and DAB+ was the most popular platform with 41% of all radio listening happening via that technology.

[Related: “WorldDAB Details Technical State of Swiss DAB”]

In his speech at SwissRadioDay — titled “Radio Without FM — Who Cares?” — Bernard Maissen, the director of Swiss media regulator BAKOM, noted that Swiss listeners are moving steadily toward alternatives to traditional FM broadcasting. Content, he argued, is what will ensure the future success of radio, not the platform used.

Maissen stated that the year-end 2024 shutoff of analog FM broadcasting is firm and that regulators would take action to ensure the digital switchover occurs as required by law, noting that BAKOM has spent 63 million Swiss francs (about $64.2 million) to educate listeners and ease the transition for broadcasters.

Looking at other metrics, WG DigiMig noted that 76% of all radio listening in the German-speaking portion of the county is via digital platforms, 75% in the Italian-speaking areas, and 72% in the Swiss Romand. Among all age brackets, digital listening was at least 70%. Among 15- to 34-year-olds, 82% of radio listening was digital.

Digital radio receivers are standard equipment in most all new cars sold in the country, and 51% of in-car radio listening in spring 2022 was via DAB+. Another 11% of in-car radio listening was digital via IP streaming.