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Dutch Government Postpones Decision on When to “Sunset” FM

Dutch minister of economic affairs has announced that the nine national commercial radio stations will have to reapply for their licenses in 2017

AMSTERDAM�Dutch minister of economic affairs Henk Kemp has announced that the nine national commercial radio stations in the Netherlands will have to reapply for their licenses when they expire in 2017. The new national licenses for the period 2017-2027 will include both FM and DAB+. �In a second stage, 38 regional licenses (both FM and DAB+) will be awarded; and, in a third stage, the rest of the capacity of the DAB+ blocks will be made available.

The Dutch government is also planning for a new DAB+ national network for 15 commercial radio stations; and, the decision to close down FM has been postponed, according�

In 2009, there was a decision to eventually replace FM with DAB+ digital terrestrial radio. �DAB+ is now available across most of the country and commercial radio began broadcasting nationally via DAB+ two years ago. �The Dutch launch of DAB+ has been called the most successful yet in Europe, thanks to high sales figures for digital receivers. �FM accounts for 47% of listening, but this is mostly due to the strength of digital cable radio which has 37% of home listening.

Commercial radio operators said it is possible to close down FM as early as 2023, but DAB+ now has just 3% of radio listening, which is the main reason behind the government decision to postpone the decision to �sunset� FM.� The government wants to accelerate the uptake of DAB+ with the combined licenses for FM and DAB+ while working on improvements for indoor reception of DAB+.