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NAB: Norway’s FM Shutdown a Pipe Dream in U.S.

Differences between countries’ radio programs highlight why Americans shouldn’t worry about an FM shutdown

Norway has been making headlines as of late as the country has begun the shutdown of analog FM radio for the replacement of digital audio broadcasting (DAB). Many European countries have been doing their own research on DAB in the last few years with perhaps an eventual goal of following in Norway’s footsteps, but is there any chance that this trend could make its way across the Atlantic to the U.S.? The National Association of Broadcasters is highly suspect.

In a recent blog post by NAB Chief Operating Officer Chris Ornelas on the broadcast association’s website, in addition to clearing up the specifics of the Norway shutdown — not all analog FM stations are going away, just national broadcast stations and some local urban stations — Ornelas indicates that the American radio industry is too different from Norway to follow suit.

“The difference between Norway radio and American radio is as stark as the Northern Lights versus fireworks on the Capitol Mall on the Fourth of July,” said Ornelas.

Among these key differences, is the fact that the number of American weekly radio listeners dwarfs Norway’s — 268 million to 5 million. In addition, many of Norway’s stations are state-owned, whereas commercial radio stations are the dominant form in the U.S. Furthermore, the technologies used for converting to digital are completely different in the U.S. and Norway, according to Ornelas.

Orlenas ends his post with this: “No way will America go Norway’s route and ‘turn off’ FM radio. It’s just not going to happen, in my lifetime or yours.”

To read the full post, visit NAB’s Policy Blog.