COPENHAGEN — In April of this year, the Government of Denmark suggested that the FM signals there should be turned off by 2021. “The reason is that the government wants to promote digital radio broadcasting,” according to nyheder.tv2.dk.
A political majority previously agreed that the FM signal can be turned off within a period of two years — but only after more than 50% of radio usage can be attributed to digital sources. A recent Kantar Gallup poll shows that figure to actually be 31% in the first quarter of this year.
Earlier this month, the Danish Culture Minister Mette Bock said that she was ready to wait until 2023 to pull the FM signals off-air — and thus the wind seems to have changed direction. “FM will be as it is today. We maintain radio broadcasting on FM — also during this media period,” said Morten Marinus, the Danish People’s party media director, according to the Nyheder article. Several government sources confirmed that news.
There appear to be several reasons behind this change. First, several parties and the engineers’ organization FDM criticized the plans because of the cost associated with the switchover to digital for the nearly two million cars running today with an FM radio. FDM estimates that a fixed DAB radio in the car will cost about 5000 kroner (approximately $750 US) with assembly. Secondly, Social Democrat Transport Director Rasmus Prehn fears “chaos on the roads” if FM signals are shut down, according to Nyheder. Danish public broadcaster P4’s traffic reports are not always heard via digital radio sources.
The new media rules will run through 2023, and there is therefore no prospect that the FM signals will be turned off in Denmark before then.