Norway has announced that it will turn off all FM frequencies in the country by the end of 2017 as part of its transition to digital radio. While the digital transition is occurring all over Europe, Norway will be the first country to lay most of its FM band to rest, beginning on Jan. 11, 2017 and ending on Dec. 13.
The Ministry of Culture made the announcement last week and states that the removal of FM bands will save money and assist in the full transition to digital radio, according to Radio.no
“This is an important day for everyone who loves radio,” said Thor Gjermund Eriksen, head of public broadcasting network NRK. “The minister’s decision allows us to concentrate our resources even more upon what is most important, namely to create high-quality and diverse radio content to our listeners.”
It should be noted however that certain local broadcasters in the country will be able to continue broadcasting on FM during and after the technology shift, so as to not impose extra costs on these stations and to guarantee regional content. According to the Norse Lokalradio Forbund, the Norwegian Local Radio Association, 200 local commercial and community radio stations outside the country’s four largest cities will continue broadcasting in analog.
A recent TNS Gallup poll found that 55 percent of Norwegian homes already have at least one digital radio. There are also currently 22 national channels on digital radio, compared to just five on FM.
Other European countries are also considering turning off their FM frequencies for good, but no other country has announced an official date.
Norway continues to set the trend for digital radio; NRK was the first station to offer a digital radio channel on June 1, 1995.
Related: Norway Studies Suitable Switchover Strategy